Photos from down South

Being the most secluded, coldest, highest, and driest continent, Antarctica develops a different sense of reality. Mountains seem grander, social rules fade, and life feels accelerated. I don’t have much in the way of words right now and these pictures don’t do this rough majestic continent much justice, but here is a little taste of the the bottom of the world.

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Gearing up for the Ice Marathon I have realized just how few photos I have actually been taking when I went to look back at the course. Things are starting to warm up here. The ocean is fast approaching. The snow is almost gone from the base and the ground steams regularly from the uninhibited sun. The ground here resemble large mounds of coal here at base with a few outcroppings of rock formations.

It has all the feeling of an empty spring. Walking outside I just expect to see flowers and greens popping up any day now, but my wait will be in vain. I will just have to be happy with penguins and whales popping up out of the water as it comes up to the base.

Back side of Castle Rock looking toward the ocean.

Back side of Castle Rock looking toward the ocean.


Icicles on the power lines to the galley.

It is the last day of 2011, and I feel like I haven’t done anything this year. Not that I haven’t had a great time and had some fantastic adventures, but I haven’t exactly felt productive. Least of all, I have not felt productive on this blog. As I sit down here and try to think about what to write about, I find that my brain has been turned to mush. Apparently this isn’t uncommon among people working on the Ice. A discussion with some friends helped me  realized that exercising the brain is more important to maintaining regular sleeping habits, energy, and the ability to comprehend little things such as what time it is than physical exercise.

An Adelie penguin wakes up after napping on the sea ice near Hut Point on Ross Island.

Apart from my long runs and work in the bakery that occupies most of my time, I have taken to watching the penguins off hut point instead of watching the seals by Scott base. The Adelie’s remind me a lot of river otters; play, eat, occasionally sleep. Everything they do seems a little goofy and not entirely under their control. As though something else drives their feet, they always seem to be unsure of where their next step might take them.

Said Adelie penguin waking up and wondering where the feet will go today.

It is hard to feel like there are any problems in the world when you are watching 30 knee high waddling balls of feathers. In a place where there is so little life on a harsh landscape, it makes for a wonderful sight to see life having so much fun in a place that life does not seem possible.

Classic Penguin stance.

On my way around base I have taken to searching for interesting labeling. This is some of what I have found…

This is not as bad is it looks, however, the actual mass casualty practice test that happens each year leaves me with no faith that we would be safe in the occurrence of such an event. While there are many stories of how people have broken bones, bled and suffered concussions, I probably shouldn’t repeat them on here…

I have never gone in this building, and I actually don’t plan to. But I really do like the red and white. It just stands apart from the normal color palette of black and white.

Expedition Sleds.

A little bit more bulky than dog sleds, but they haven’t changed a whole lot since then.

I wish I knew the story behind this box.

Here is a little more from Castle Rock. A little more wondering around with my friend Dan turned up some lichen and moss. I unfortunately did get pictures from him yet. We both never thought we would be so excited to find moss or lichen before. Funny the things that you take for granted, like bugs. It is a funny sight to see how differently people react to finding bugs in the produce, mainly the fact that they are generally excited about it!

Looking toward Black Island.

Looking at Mt. Erebus along the ridge line.

The back side of Castle Rock.


I found a cool rock on my run today!


But what about this lazy bum?

Adelie Penguins on parade off of Hut Point, Ross Island, Antarctica.


29 – 01-12

Getting super anxious to leave as the ships start to roll in. Although the vessel is a long way off, the icebreaker and tanker have been hard at work.

The Russian icebreaker Vladamir something or other.

6 thoughts on “Photos from down South

  1. Is that an abandoned US plane where you’re doing a handstand? Love the photos. Your pictures acknowledge the majesty of the Universe. Who’s that cute guy whose sleeping? Stay well and be safe.
    Love ,
    Aunt Lisa ( from Perth Amboy)

    1. I suppose it is abandoned now… It was the last Pegasus flight to Antarctica and had a emergency crash landing. No one was killed in the crash, but they did drag it away from the runway so it wasn’t the first thing people saw on a plane when they flew in!

  2. Wow, I can’t believe I actually know someone who is in Antarctica! Great shots. Keep ’em coming:)
    “Aunt Suzen”

  3. I thought I was unique living in Kiruna, Sweden, for 3 years. Kiruna lies 100 miles North of the Artic Circle. Hope you can send me some more of your great pictures. Randy Tkacs

  4. Cool rock. Obviously Martian in origin. It appears to be formed by steam flowing through volcanic ash, like rocks we’ve seen at Crater Lake NP. Was it easily scratched, or was it really hard?

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