TIGER in Antarctica
November 22, 2001
Thanksgiving and Scott's Hut
Thursday was Thanksgiving, but the official holiday in McMurdo is going to be Saturday. But our great galley staff, Beaver and Jen, wanted to do Thanksgiving for us on the actual day. Roast Turkey and the works. The galley is decorated and some of us brought wine. The meal was excellent.
Photo on right: Thanksgiving at Willy Field
In the evening, I've signed up for one of the "morale building trips" they have several times a week here. This one is out to Cape Evans, where Scott built a large hut to use as his base for his 1911/1912 journey to the pole (the building near town on Hut Point is from Scott's earlier Antarctic exploration journey). We gather at 6:30 pm and the first part is an hour and a half ride in one of the Deltas (maximum speed 22 mph and usually not going that fast, picture on vehicles page) on the pack ice around the west side of Ross Island. This would be a nicer ride (although bumpy) if the windows weren't so cracked and dirty that it is hard to see out of them.
Photo on left: Scott's hut at Cape Evans
Mount Erebus dominates the scenery here, as it does at Willy field. The hut is on a black lava-sand "beach" in a small bay. The snow has piled up, so that the hut appears to have been built in a hole (the same has happened even quicker for several buildings out at Willy Field). Inside the entrance there is a storage area that heads off to the left that has old tools and equipment, a box of ancient, broken penguin eggs and a nearly hundred-year-old pile of seal blubber. Things don't decay quickly here, but this pile is starting to turn noticably rancid.
Photo on right: Scott's hut with Mount Erebus in the background
The storage area goes around the corner to where the stables were. Scott brought ponies, as well as dogs, but the ponies did not fare as well as the dogs. This is one of the reasons Amundsen, who had only dogs, but a lot of them, beat Scott to the pole.
The inside has been restored and maintained by a New Zealand historical society. They've done a remarkable job. The only problem was that it was extremely dark in the hut. Flashlights had been supplied, but batteries don't do well in cold. The flashlights glowed enough that you could find them in the dark, but that was about it.
Photo on left: Inside Scott's hut
These pictures of the inside of the hut were almost taken sight unseen. The flash did not light them up long enough for me to really see what I was taking pictures of. But it was impressive, nonetheless.
Photo on right: Inside Scott's hut
There is another part of this trip (the ice caves) and more pictures, but I'll cover them tomorrow.
Dr. Eric R. Christian
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