Daily Archives: October 28, 2012

Halloween @ McMurdo












Penguin Poop

Turns out that just beyond the wall Im sitting at is a lab where penguin poop is dissected.  Jean Pennycook was kind enough to show me around and introduce me to some of her friends.

This friendly little guy is a penguin.  Unfortunately, he goes back in the freezer when playtime is over.

Snowcraft-AKA-Industrial Camping-AKA Happy Camper

Anyone that is scheduled for field work in the Antarctic program gets to take Snowcraft I, which also known as Happy Camper.  Its basically a crash course in survival for Antarctica.  After some classroom instruction the class of about 20 is hauled out to the ice shelf and sets up for a night of camping using Scott tents, mountain tents and snow trenches (optional).  We were taught how to build walls using the snow.  Antarctic snow is so dry and dense that it has the consistency of Styrofoam and can be cut into shapes with a saw.  We had really nice conditions.  No wind and pretty warm.  The low overnight was only -1 F.  We really lucked out.

Hauling our gear out to the camp site aka Snow Mountain City

This is a picture of a Scott tent.  Despite the fact that the inventor of this tent died in it, these are tremendously robust tents.  They cannot be blown over in a windstorm and you can even cook in them.  They are held down by using whats called a deadman which is basically an object buried in the snow tied to the tent using a Truckers H itch.

Before you go to bed in Antarctica sometimes (if you’re really in trouble) you have to make your bed by digging a trench to sleep in.  

Here is a shot looking up at the roof and the stairs to get into the trench.  I used flagpoles and snowblocks to construct the roof.

HF radio training

Putting a bucket over your head with a thick hood is a great way to simulate white out conditions.  This excersize is to show how quickly you can get disoriented.  This line of people were attempting to find the bathrooms in the background of the picture.

Mattracks and the Delta

Getting around town in Antarctica just doesn’t work with a Honda Civic or anything else you can buy off a car lot.  Thats why these neat little devices are used.  They’re called Mattracks and turned your regular old F 350 into a tracked all terrain machine. Its wonderful to be in a place where these are necessary.  They also make wonderful Christmas gifts.

Heres another rig you may see bopping around Mactown.  Its called a Delta, a Canadian made goofy looking military personnel transport from the 70’s.  This ones name is Dawn.  I think it looks like some kind of goofball dinosaur.  Technologically speaking it is a dinosaur.


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