Tuesday, January 22, 2019


Thought I would do a potpourri of short vignettes.

The annual softball tournament was just completed.  McMurdo has its own “Field of Dreams”, at lease for a week or so.  The field is adjacent to the ice pier and will be used as a staging area for the off-load and on-load of the supply ship, which is due in later this week.  The field includes team dugouts, stands, and a scoreboard.  

The field is red cinder rock, not the kind of 
surface for sliding into a base.
The bleacher seats and team dugouts.  

I’m happy to report that ATO (Antarctic Terminal Operations), the department Shuttles is in, won the tournament, beating the Galley team in the championship game.  I might add the championship game was played in a snow storm.  How appropriate.

The ATO Softball Champions!

A quick update on the Emperor penguin who set up residence along the snow road.  He is still there and I see him most every trip to and from Willie Field.  I have nicknamed him “Weather Vane” since you can always tell which direction the wind is blowing because he situates himself on the other side of the snow berm.  Hopefully his molting is going okay and he’ll soon be able to make his was back to the water.

Weather Vane staking out his ground.

Speaking of water, the Coast Guard icebreaker arrived in McMurdo last week.  It still hasn’t docked as it is working on widening the channel and enlarging the area where the supply ship will turn.  So far, open water is still miles from town.  Time will tell whether or not we see open water in front of the station this year.

The US Coast Guard icebreaker just off shore 
from downtown McMurdo.
The US Coast Guard icebreaker at the ice edge,  
taken from the Overlook.

With the arrival of the icebreaker, most of the seals in front of McMurdo area have relocated closer to Scott Base.  For them, open water signals possible danger.  Orcas (killer whales) and leopard seals prey on seals and penguins.  But as long as there is still a covering of ice, the seals and penguins are probably safe.

Castle Rock from the Erebus Overlook.

Finally, Arnita, Geoff and I hiked to the Erebus Bay Overlook last Sunday morning.  The trail to the Overlook takes off at the first apple (shelter) on the way to Castle Rock.  The weather was good, although a bit windy when we took off.  There was fog but by the time we reached the top of the Overlook, it had mostly dissipated.  We could see the icebreaker in the distance near the open water.  I also took a picture of the rabbit and buffalo I mentioned in the caption below one of the pictures in the Castle Rock post.  Use your imagination.

From Willie Field it looks more like a pelican than a rabbit.
Okay, humor me and say you can see the buffalo.

We left around 2 am and got back a little after 5 am.  Again, we had the trail to ourselves.  I sure have enjoyed my hikes here.  The landscape is beautiful and serene.

The view from the top looking towards White Island
Looking towards McMurdo with Mt. Discovery in the background.

I feel fortunate to have been able to see and do as much as I have.  As my time here winds down, my goal is to stay focused on my work and to enjoy each day I'm here.

Looking towards White Island with fog coming off the ice shelf.


Marie on Frazer said...

Life sounds interesting Rex but it also sounds like you’re getting tired of working full-time? Well, you’ll be on vacation soon enough right?
Tidbit from our town...it’s going to be in the 50’s
this week...Susan and I went to Portellos tonight and she’s going to send you a pic...the head honcho @your old job, ODOT is retiring, a Matthew Garrett...poor government employees still being held “hostage”, no end in sight...that’s all I can think of, keep those posts coming!

Gianni alsoknownas John said...

These hikes you've been taking have been impressive. Looking down on Castle Rock shows how much higher Erebus Overlook is! Wow. The views from up there are spectacular. And, by the way, I do see the rabbit and the buffalo!

Jessica Kindrick said...

Hi Rex, Loved seeing all the photos! The girls especially like anything regarding the penguins. We miss you!

Unknown said...

More good stuff! I cant get enough!
Thanks for sharing this hard-to-imagine world with us.
Tom Knappenberger

Rex said...

Hey Jessica. Glad you are sharing the photos with the girls. I hope to see more penguins before I leave. If I do, I'll be sure to post the photos.

Susan Skalski said...

Your photos and stories are great! Keep em coming !

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