Photo Grab #30: Castle Rock by Eli

Photo Grab #29: Skua Attack

Go get her Sherman! I'm naming the Skuas based on their aggresiveness. Sherman is my buddy that hangs out by the food waste bin by the loading dock. I've taught him well.

Photo Grab #28: Deltas Stuck

Yup it's getting slushy. If Deltas can't do it, then nothing can except the slow piston bully's. What we need are some eco-friendly monster trucks.


Photo Grab #27: MCI Drill

MCI = Mass Causality Incident.

Hope you get well John.

Photo Grab #26: Blood Falls ;-E

Russian Helo

This excursion took place in the dry valleys.

In the backcountry Antarctica solar panels and wind turbines are commonly used to provide energy for weather monitoring stations and science experiments.

Tent City

The infamous U Barrel.

View from the front porch.

The Ice is Being Broken down by the Pier

The 'American Tern' Cargo Ship is on its way and to prepare for her arrival an ice-breaker has been cruising the McMurdo Sound making a shipping channel.

"The American Tern

With onboard cranes and extra-thick steel plating, the American Tern can take just about any cargo just about anywhere.

Although it carries 1000 TEUs of containers, the vessel is actually classed as a general cargo ship, and its holds can carry bulky and extra-heavy items such as vehicles, construction equipment and materials, pipes and other things needed by the National Science Foundation to build and maintain its research stations in Antarctica. Because McMurdo’s dock lacks gantry cranes, the crew relies on the American Tern’s two cranes (one with a 60-metric-ton-capacity, and the other with a 40-metric ton capacity; in tandem, they can lift 90 metric tons).
The ship is categorized as “Finnish Ice Class 1A,” one of the higher ice-capable ratings for commercial vessels. Although it’s “ice-classed,” the American Tern is not an icebreaker; it needs one to escort it and plow through the thicker ice while it follows close behind. Even so, it needs to push aside the broken ice, and is built to be especially strong for the difficult going."


This photo was taken not too long ago. Everday trucks are hauling containers down to the pier and that area is now off-limits to the general population.

Source: McMurdo Station. USAP. Intranet. I:\temp\Aerial Photos

Where you from? Where you going?

I was thinking about the seasons last night and put together this map to help me out (cartophiliac?) During the northern summer of '07 I was in Kodiak Alaska working as a backcountry Ranger, spent the winter of '07-'08 in Peterborough, Ontario finishing up my B.Sc. Physical Geography degree. After graduating I went back 'home' to Suburbia in S.W. Ohio. Then took off to Costa Rica to be a lodge Chef (http://www.lacolinalodge.com/amenities.htm). Spent the entire northern summer of '08 cooking and traveling the westside of Costa Rica. I then went back home to gather my bearings. Spent a month or so there, saw a cool storm (Hurricane Ike) reek havoc on the suburbs. Then got the call to go Antarctica, so I flew to Colorado > L.A. > New Zealand > Antarctica. I've been here since Oct. 20 and I am trying to winter over. 9 months of summer so far. Where do I go once I leave the Ice? What does destiny have in store for me? Haha.

I took this 4 months ago on the westside of Costa Rica. There was a giant crocodile hanging out in the lagoon behind me while I ran around on the beach trying to get the palm trees and moon light. Oh to see the night and feel the stars, oh to be able to sleep in black and dance under the auroras. I'd like to get to the S.Pole and fall under the blanket of the long and 100% dark Antarctic winter.


I got off work at 7:30, ran to the 155 lounge and spent an hour organizing a spanish club. Necesito practicar mas. Antonces este es mi night off and I decided to sit back and relax. A lot is comming ahead.

At least for the last month we've had amazing weather. Over the last week I've been running around in shorts and tank-top. One girl said she saw me running in my summer gear and she thought I was crazy. Huh? It's 45 deg F, to me it feels like 80. No snow, beautiful sunshine, warm... what more to ask for. Well, all that's about to change. The winter solstice has come and gone, and now the clouds are rolling in. The sun is making it's descent, creating light and dark, warm and cold; opposition. The transition to winter now begins.

I took this picture yesterday afternoon, the last time we had nearly 3 weeks of consecutive sunshine. Folks who have redeployed this year say this year has been much sunner and warm. Global warming? Scientists say that half of Antarctica is getting warmer, and the other half is getting colder (and more snow/ice, more safe penguin communities). McMurdo is located in the area that is supposed to be getting more colder. The ice hasn't budged this year, meaning it has been less windy than last year, but I think the higher temperatures and less cloud cover is quite noticeable given what returnies have said.

I took this yesterday night. I could see clouds comming in from the South and I smelled change in the air. Christmas has come and gone and violence has broken out in the Middle East in the Gaza Strip. Don't get me wrong, s*it happens, but the way humanity is acting is rather rash.

All day today there has been a steady and dark cloud cover (stratus?). And the Raven's words have been running through my head. Right now we stand at a time of transition. Age of Aquarius, maybe. Different ancient beliefs, calendars, and prophecies point to different events, but are of the same reality... change. President Barack Obama spoke loud and clear about change... but what is this change? We can see disharmony between human & human, human & nature. Nations fight nations, people pollute the water, land, and sky. Where does this imbalance lead?

If we cannot acquire peace within our race, then how can we do so with other species? other elements? other forces? Our actions mirror or intentions, and at one point we must look in the mirror ask ourselves, what is my intention in this life? Individuals reside within their goverments and within their unique environments, both of which must be respected and conserved. But, on a larger stance, Individuals also live on Earth, with the rest of every other animal, rock, tree, and human. Our priorities in life and governance must stem from our root, the Essence of Earth. If we cannot establish harmony between a farmer and his/her land then we surely cannot establish unity between a farmer and his neighbor. People are finding their aquifers dry, wells dry, food is becomming scarce, fuel is becomming scarce... we've stepped out of the Garden of Eden, that's for sure, in fact I think we've gone too far, the question is... can we step back in? The consequences of our actions will answer this.