Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Pictures!!! Christchurch, NZ to McMurdo, Antarctica

Ok, here are some pictures. Im gonna keep adding to them as the day goes on so check back often.

This is the USAF C-17 cargo jet we flew on to McMurdo, its massive.

Dont I look like a total dork?

We all climbed on board, but first we were handed bagged lunches by the catering truck to the left. It was awesome, all sorts of sandwiches and goodies. The folks down here are awesome.

Once inside, we piled up agains the walls. Check out the cargo and the bare bones look of the plane.

As if I wasnt already a big dork, I have to go and pose for pictures like this ...

Another view of the inside, this time from the front of the plane looking back.

We were permited togo up to the flight deck and check out the scenery pretty much any time we wanted. The pilots on this flight seemed a little annoyed of our presence, unlike the flight to the pole. I guess these guys dont fly curious geeks as often.

From the cockpit window, we could see land approaching as we flew southbound from NZ.

The mountains in the distance are part of the Antarctic coast.

As we approached McMurdo, the first feature we could really see was the Ice Sheet. At this time of year, as summer approaches the southern hemisphere, many of the ice sheets beging to break up and melt. This is the time that naval ice breakers begin to mive theri way into the continents seas and bays, slowly. In particular, we are crossing the larges of such sheets surrounding antarctica, the Ross Ice Shelf. McMurdo is located on Ross Island, set inside this sheet.

So here are a bunch of pictures of the ice breaking up below us. Some of them are super cool, when i was able to catch the reflection of the sun in particular.

Oh My GOD! Its an iceberg, man that was probably the coolest thing I saw. Its funny, although the ice seems to be completely stationary, frozen in time, its actually always flowing outwards and when it breaks up it seperates and melts away. The slow flow of ice is even crazier when considering glaciers.

The shadow of the plane is visible on the ice as we fly over!

My last view from the plane as we descended onto the Ice Runway at McMurdo, then I had to run back to my seat and sit. My guess is we were still at around 1000 feet when I took this ... but it was close to Ross Island.

When we landed on the Ice, we were escorted to town by a huge bus with wheels about the size of me. Check out the awesome nickname ...

This is a view of MCMurdo from the runway and inside the Terra Bus. As you may be able to see, its a sizable opperation and looks like some kind of strip mine facillity or logging camp.

This is a typical view from McMurdo, looking out over the Ross Sea Ice Shelf. The Ice Shelf never completely melts, the point at which the melting stops is right about where McMurdo is, in the McMurdo Sound.

This is a view of the Ice runway where we landed.

A short walk brings you to the original hut constructed by the crew of the Scott expedition to the pole. It looks brand new and at first I thought it might be a replica, but its not. The dry, cold, lifeless conditions a pole are excelent for preservation.

As mentioned in my McMurdo post, there was a dead seal preserved at the doorstep of the hut, im sure you were dying to see it, so here it is!

From the Hut, me and a friend hiked further up a ridge that rose up along the Ross Sea, bordering McMurdo to the South. The view from the ridge looked out onto the frozen Ice Shelf. Here is a picture of me trying to be cool and failing, in the background is the runway again.

Looking down at the ice, you could see how it flowed agains the coast and created frozen "ice waves".

From near the peak of the ridge, I looked back and saw McMurdo in the distance. This is also a good close view of the terrain. As you can see, lava rocks litter the landscape. Its a view that so closely resembles pictures sent back from Mars.


Anonymous jstrysko said...

Maybe we could send you a care package with some oxygen.
Oxygen cookies.Yum!
Keep the dork photos comin.

2:16 PM CST  
Blogger Robert B. Friedman said...

OK, my mailing address is ...
Robert Friedman, Project S-A-366
South Pole Station
PSC 468 Box 400
APO AP 96598

just send it soon, cause otherwise it might not get here before I leave.

6:36 PM CST  

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