Thursday, August 26, 2010

Photos from Antarctica!

Greetings from the Ice! Here are some photos from my arrival in Antarctica and the first few days here.

When we flew from Christchurch, New Zealand to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, we were flown on a military cargo jet. Normally this plane does not have seats; they were specially installed for the flight down to the Ice. You can see all the luggage and other cargo stacked and paletted behind all the passengers.
This is the stairway up to the cockpit. At the beginning of the flight, the attendants allowed two people at a time to go to the cockpit and see the view out the windows. The bubble at the top of the picture was the place from which I took the previous photo.

Here I am sitting in the back seat of the cockpit. Outside the window, I could see the vast expanse of ocean as we flew south.

Here are the military pilots flying the plane. I was fascinated by all the controls in front of them. One of the attendants pointed out what several of the panels were for, but I can't remember any of that now. :)

Larry and I (and Toast, at the bottom of the photo)

Right before the plane landed, we had to put on the extreme cold weather gear we had received in Christchurch. At this point, I'm about halfway done.

Larry has finished putting all his extreme cold weather gear on. Apparently it gets really cold in Antarctica. ;)

Here is a view of the station and the hills behind it. The blue building in the background is the main building where the galley (cafeteria) is located.

Observation Hill - The moon didn't set for several days after we arrived; it just followed a big circle around the sky.

Here's a photo of some of the dorms on the first day that the sun rose (August 19) since sometime in April. Because of the hills on the north side of the station, the sun was not directly visible to us (it still isn't), but you can see the sunlight on the tops of the Transantarctic Mountains in the background.

A close-up of the sunlight reflecting on the Transantarctic Mountains. McMurdo Station is located on the southern tip of Ross Island. The flat area in front of the mountains is the frozen ocean between the island and the mainland. That water will melt once the sun is up 24 hours a day in November and December.

Nacreous clouds! I'd never heard of these until I saw one! Apparently these clouds are made up of water and/or chemical crystals high in the stratosphere, between 50,000 and 80,000 feet high (most commercial jets fly as high as 40,000 feet.), and only occur in the extreme cold of the polar regions. They're shiny and very reflective, so it's hard to miss them.

Here's a cluster of nacreous clouds. Aren't they beautiful!


  1. Yeah, just what I was hoping for! Thanks for posting these. Hope things are going well and you're staying warm!

  2. What an adventure! I love your pics and the sense of EXPEDITION and EXPANSE! Yay! Much joy and new discoveries to you!!!

  3. Love the pictures!!! Hope you're having a good time!

  4. Thanks for sharing pics and great descriptions of your adventures. I look forward to reading and seeing more! Hope you're having a good time and staying warm :)

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