Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Arrival in McMurdo Station

Hello! I've finally made it to Antarctica! Actually, I've been here for 48 hours already but I've not been able to get online until now. It will take me a bit before I can get photos up, but they will arrive! I promise!

The flight from Christchurch, New Zealand landed on Monday evening after five hours in the air. We flew on a military cargo plane, which was quite a bit different than any other plane I've flown before. The noise level was so high that we had to wear earplugs the whole way. When we landed in Antarctica, I learned that the airstrip (there's no airport) is actually on sea ice. In other words, we landed on the frozen ocean. :)

McMurdo Station is on Ross Island, which is an island formed by the volcanic rock from Mt. Erebus. I'm very excited to take hikes on the island and see what's around. From McMurdo, I can see the mainland of Antarctica and the Transantarctic Mountains (at least that's what I think they're called). Very beautiful! The sun rises tomorrow for the first time in several months. It will appear at 12:30pm and be above the horizon for just under an hour before it goes back down. Right now, we have twilight that lasts all day. When I get up at 6:30am it's still dark. By about 10am it's bright enough to see the hills around the station and the mountains on the mainland. From about 12pm to 3pm, the sky looks like it does right after the sun sets. There's red, orange, and yellow on the northern horizon (the direction where the sun lies) and the sky above is a dusky blue. Then at about 3pm it starts getting dark again until several hours later it's fully night time. Right now, the moon is up permanently. Instead of rising and setting, it just does circles around the sky overhead. At night, many of the stars and constellations are different from what I'm used to in the northern hemisphere. The few that I can still see, such as the zodiac constellations, are upside-down.

At the moment (7pm), the current temperature is -30 degrees Fahrenheit. BRRRRR!!! It's been windy all day and all last night, and the wind chills have been below -50 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm happy that the sun will be rising soon and that the temperatures will be getting warmer as time passes. :)


  1. So happy you both arrived safely.... I know I'm going to enjoy reading about your work and adventures... I'm also happy you love astronomy... I'm visiting here in Honolulu and loving seeing my family... you'll meet them when you get here... Say, what do the initials after your name and Larry's name in the address mean? Stay warm and toasty until the sun warms you up! Do you need anything? Talk to you soon!

  2. Glad to hear that you arrived safely and that your first few hours have been so exciting! I can't even imaging living w/ that much darkness...or near darkness. Stay warm and enjoy the little sunshine you have. :-)

  3. Thanks for sharing and happy Anartica footfalls and dreams, big sky and winds...much love!

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  5. It's Sara Hoffee, just wanted to say I'm glad you're there!