Thursday, January 14, 2010

South Pole Dome history

This year is a special year for those who have worked at South Pole station. The old station, the Dome, is coming down. I believe part of it is being taken to a museum, but most of it is being taken away as scrap. One day, the Traverse or a LC-130 will bring it back to McMurdo to be put on a cargo vessel and sent back to the states.

Historical McMurdo

I have had so many conversations with Old Antarctic Explorers (OAEs). They tell amazing stories about the way things used to be or some random adventure they got to go. It really increases the romanticism of this place because so many of those adventures seem so far away from our current experiences. One woman that I was chatting with, has been working here or in Greenland since 1981, four years after my birth.

As many stories as I hear, few things truly make Antarctica like the pictures. The pictures tell stories on their own and make me hunger for my own adventures. Of the pictures below, from 1965, my favorite is the one that shows open water around Hut Point. I've heard it talked about so much, but I have never seen a picture of it. I never would have imagined that ships, that look like warships, could be that close to shore in an area I identify as being covered in ice.

Dogs were banned because they were giving penguins distemper.

For perspective, that is Hut Point on the right and yes, they did dump their garbage there.

This is the open water that we all hope for and that Scott first sailed.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Adelies, Baby Skua, and Skua Bath Time

Eleven of the most inert Adelies I have ever seen.

Open Water!

Late last week, fun pages were being sent all over base. Penguins. Penguins at Hut Point. Lots of them. I went down and saw eleven Adelies. Unfortunately, they were napping and their personality comes out when they are moving about. Luckily, they have stuck around and recruited friends. Everyone has been seeing them. My roommate, Brooks, was lucky enough to catch them while they are swimming. I'm definitely heading back out there to try and see that.

The cavalry arrived a day later.

One of my favorite events of the year is watching baby skua grow up. I don't know if there is always a nest near Hut Point, but there has been for both of my summers. It is so amazing to see something as fragile as a baby growing up in such an inhospitable environment. As far as I can tell, there is no real nest, just a small depression in the rocks. I don't know if all skuas are raised like this or just the ones near McMurdo. It might be different at a skua colony.

Baby skua and its parent.

Claire trying to reason with parent skua.

Another blustery day to toughen up baby skua.

A skua.

After we had visited baby skua, we headed back down to Hut Point where the penguins were. They hadn't moved yet. However, we did catch a skua, possibly the other parent of baby skua, taking a bath. I don't know how skua can get wet and not freeze. I feel like we are better built to handle the cold because we have more fat, but obviously I'm wrong. They evolved in the Antarctica. We did not. Maybe, I'm just discounting their body fat ratio because I think of birds as lightweight. Anyone know how fat non-dinner table birds are? (Edit. Feathers are a great insulator, but I thought that down lost its ability to keep us warm once it got a little wet. Thanks to Lisa for some great editing!!)

Shake it out!

Splish splash, I'm taking a bath!

Time lapse of bath time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Club Worlds

Where will I be this coming summer? I'll be at the World Ultimate Club Championships in Prague, Czech Republic from July 3-10, 2010. I'll be playing for Credo, based out of Christchurch, NZ, as one of New Zealand's Mixed/Coed representatives. I was honored and pleasantly surprised to have been selected to play. It is even more amazing to think that I had planned on retiring before this team helped me rediscover my love of the game in 2008.

Credo, 2008 Mixed New Zealand champions

My selection letter.

Bid Allocation for WUCC 2010
Country Organisation Total Open Women Mixed Masters
United States UPA 15 4 4 4 3
Canada CUPA 12 3 3 3 3
Australia AFDA 10 3 3 3 1
Japan JFDA 10 3 3 2 2
United Kingdom UKUA 9 3 2 3 1
Germany DFV 8 2 2 2 2
Finland FFDA 5 2 1 1 1
Switzerland SFSV 4 2 1 1
Colombia AJUC 4 2 1 1
Italy FIFD 4 2 1 1
Sweden SFF 4 2 1
France FFDF 4 1 1 1 1
Netherlands NFB 4 1 1 1 1
New Zealand NZFDA 4 1
Denmark DFSU 3 1 1 1
Czech Republic CALD 3 1 1 1
Venezuela AVU 3 1 1
Belgium BFDF 2 1 1

Russian Federation RFDF 2 1 1

Austria ÖFSV 2 1
Philippines PUA 2 1
Ireland IFDA 2 1
Mexico AMEDIVO 3 1
1 1
Spain FEDV 2 1
South Africa SAFDA 1 1

DominicanRepublic ADJU 1 1

India FDFI 1 1

South Korea KU 1 1

Brazil FPD 1

Taiwan CTFDA 1

Singapore SUPA 1

Hong Kong HKUPA 1

Norway NFF 0

Hungary HUFA 1 1

Israel FLOW 1 1

Lithuania LFDF 1 1

Latvia LFDF 1 1

China Shanghai China 1 1

Indonesia IFDA 0

Portugal BUG-P 0

Costa Rica CRUFT 0

Slovakia SAF 1 1

Slovenia S 1 1

Ukraine Ukraine 1 1

Poland EFDF 1

Croatia C 1

Estonia EFDF 1

Luxembourg L 1

Uganda KUFC 0

141 53 29 41 18

Station Happenings

Christmas Day, we had the McMurdo Alternative Art Gallery. My favorite piece was a banner for the S.P.O.A that my friend Candy made stickers for this year. Someone sewed together a brilliant flag. I love it. The other great exhibit from the gallery was a room with a pinhole in the wall. It acted like a camera from outside, but it took a while for your eyes to adjust to figure it out.

Short People of Antarctica banner.

On our day off for New Years (note, not actually on New Years), we had IceStock. We had a main stage all day long and then an acoustic and electric stage at night. We have so many talented musicians down here. It is amazing and was a great day off. For the first time in many years, Icestock had great weather. Some people even got sunburns. I even got to throw a disc around for a while. It was a treat. I overuse that word these days. I blame Lindsay for making me like it so much.

Icestock main stage with Ob Hill in the background.

The MJB jazz band.

Throwing the disc!

Kish, once again, is the front man for Level 5.

Our full day of musical goodness.

Robot-ninja shenanigans!

Our headliner, Porn Spill, jams out your favorite funk.

Just this past weekend, we had our annual rugby game. Our guys train most of the season for the event. However, with people regularly missing practices to head to the field or for just the normal comings and goings of life, it is pretty tough. In the last weeks, they are still explaining the rules. One of these day, we'll win the game. We are getting closer and closer, even though we have never scored a point yet. This year, we were about 3 inches of a crossbar from scoring our first points. The guys played great defense most of the game. They usually do. I think that is similar enough to football (go, tackle) that we do alright with that part.

A Kiwi player gets ready to pass the ball.

Final score 23-0. Mt. Erebus in the background.

The Kiwi player, Chance, gets tackled.

Our closest chance of scoring smacks off the uprights.

Tony is tackled and the ball pops loose.