Friday, November 24, 2017

Antarctica 2017-18: Weddell Seals.

A Weddell Seal family is spending some time at Hut Point. Not much happening besides nice long naps on the sea ice... Sometimes, they hit the ice to create very interesting sounds on and below the ice.
Weddell Seal checking out the sea ice real estate.
Female Weddell Seal.

Weddell Seal pup.
Hanging out with mom...

Antarctica 2017-18: Snow Gauge Install on Ross Ice Shelf

We went to install snow gauges on the Ross Ice Shelf. A beautiful day! Until the storm moved in...

Mount Discovery.

The Royal Society Range.

Driving on the ice shelf.

An the Ross Ice Shelf.

Scott Landolt installing instruments on a tower.


Castlerock from the ice shelf road.

Antarctica 2017-18: McMurdo Station

A few shots of McMurdo, the biggest station on the continent. The station was officially opened in 1956. From 1962 to 1972, the town was powered by a nuclear reactor.

McMurdo and Observation Hill.
Near Derelict Junction, "downtown" McMurdo.
The newest buildings in town, used as dormitories.

Our Lady of the Snow in a blizzard.

Our Lady of the Snow with a nice "sunset" across the Sound.

My favorite place to hang out: the coffee house!

The internet link!

Antarctica 2017-18: Blizzard at Hut Point.

This season, the weather is a little difficult... We had a 3 days snow storm, bringing us 20cm of snow. Unusual for the driest place on Earth.
Impossible to do much outside, especially flying to Siple Dome... But great for some photography!

The Discovery Hut was built during Robert Falcon Scott's Discovery Expedition (1901-1904). It was the first official British Antarctic Expedition since the James Clark Ross expedition 60 years earlier.

Discovery Hut and McMurdo Station in the background.

Discovery Hut.
Discovery Hut.

Vince's Cross at Hut Point, commemorating George T. Vince death in 1902.

Hut Point with Vince's Cross.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Antarctica 2017-18: Beautiful Victoria Land...

If I am not a fan of the life on station at McMurdo, I have to say, the surroundings are quite amazing. Probably one of the most amazing place on Earth. It is raw, harsh, beautiful, diverse... And everything is changing all the time...

Mount Lister (4,025m) and the Royal Society Range.

Mount Discovery (2,681m) a dormant stratovolcano...

Mount Discovery covered with clouds.

The Royal Society Range with a storm rolling from the South.

Antarctica 2017-18: First 2 weeks in McMurdo Station.

It's been 2 weeks I arrived on the last continent. As usual, when you reach McMurdo Station, time comes to a stop. Nothing much happens!

I spent a week going from one training session to another. How to pitch a tent, how to not forget about putting warm clothes on, how to turn on a car, etc.

My friend Guy from Fairbanks, AK proud to light the stove on his own!

Gamow bag for altitude sickness.

Finally, I made it to the field last Saturday! I went with 2 scientists from Boulder (CU and NCAR). We installed 2 power systems on the nearby ice shelf. Beautiful weather and incredible views of Mt Erebus and the Royal Society Range. Eventually we ere asked to evacuate the premises because of the big storm coming down from the South...

Power System for snow accumulation gauge (CU/ATOC & NCAR Project).

Mount Erebus (3,794m).

Royal Society Range.

Mount Lister (4,025m) highest peak in the Royal Society Range.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Antarctica 2017-18: Christchurch to McMurdo

After a year off the ice, due to ligaments massive failure while skiing in Chile last year, I am back in McMurdo Station. 
Not sure I am ready for those 3 months on this beautiful continent, but the magic still works!

So far the trip has been pretty good. I left Denver on November 2nd for a few hours in San Francisco where I was able to meet with friends for dinner. I then met with my friend Guy, a Belgian engineer who lives in Fairbanks, AK, also on his way South. 
We arrived in Christchurch early afternoon on November 4th. 
On November 5th, the ritual trip to the Clothing Distribution Center was made. I picked up some clothing items (somewhat useless) for the Great South. I repacked my bag and had a last good dinner before the not so amazing food of McMurdo!

November 6th... 0530 wake up for a 0930 take off. We made if without issues to McMurdo, on board the C17 Globemaster. 

More later (after the numerous training sessions...)!

The trip from Denver, Colorado to McMurdo Station, Antarctica.

Waiting on the bus to get on the Boeing C17 Globemaster in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Above the sea ice, approaching McMurdo Station, Antarctica.

Sea ice breaking up.

Safely arrived at the new Phoenix runway on the Ross Ice Shelf. Victoria Land, Antarctica.