Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Beauty Within

Images like these are what reminds me that I am in one of the most unique and amazing places on earth.

There are certain times in my life when I have truly had my breath taken away from me in awe and wonder as I gaze upon something so beautiful, it tugs at your heartstrings with wanting to both be there in solitude and to share it with everyone you know. Since I started coming here, the changes in the ice have not created Ice Caves for some time, and so they haven't existed for several years. This season they are back at the edge of the Erebus Glacial Tongue, and since I help coordinate all the recreational trips to this location, I was a part of a training trip there this past Sunday to check out the area.

In the photos I took above, you can see the entrance to the cave is a short slide down through that small tunnel in the side of the glacier edge and at the end of that slide is the cave which you can see people standing in. I took several photos, and posted some of the more amazing ones here. I hope that you can glimpse what I saw through these and experience some of what I felt while I was standing in there.

Home Sweet Home

Being my 5th season here, I've accumulated quite a bit of stuff that I just leave stored here and then use from season to season. But it makes it so worth it when the whole room comes together and becomes a home here. My roommate is Lisa, and we get along swimmingly. She brought in some great decor also, and after a week, the room went from the before picture on the bottom to the after pictures on the top shown here.
The first thing I told Lisa was that it's a good thing I had gotten over my aversion to the color pink since a lot of her fabrics have that color in them. There was a running joke that I wasn't allowed to decorate the room since she had this whole color scheme going, and the decor I had was blue and green which didn't match (you'll notice the one green bolster pillow that I snuck in on the bench we have). Several of our friends joined in the fun and asked her why I wasn't allowed to decorate the room, and eventually she got back at me by naming the room the "Barbie Palace." (I'm not a big fan of Barbie.) And it seems that name is sticking with a few folks who have seen it. We have by far taken the cake for the unofficial "Parade of Homes Contest" among the dorm rooms here on station.
“Home is not where you live, but where they understand you." -Christian Morganstern

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Weather Report

One of the first questions I get asked when people find out where I work is- "How cold is it there?" The simple answer is usually, "Well, not as cold as you'd think." In a land of ice and snow, I can see why people expect it to be freezing here all the time, which I thought would be the case too when I first came down here. But really, the weather here is nicer than it is back home during the winter, granted it is the "summer" season here right now (and there's no way I'd ever winter here.) The big difference here is that there is 0 humidity, so the dry cold doesn't seep in to your clothes and chill you. Most of October is pretty cold, the slide above is the weather report for the day I landed, and it's been ranging between -45 and up to about +5 right now with the wind chills. The last sunset was last night, so from here on out the sun will be sitting above the horizon. I can tell you that since I started coming here, the weather has changed significantly, it's gotten warmer faster and the ice gets thinner quicker, so there's your answer on global warming. In a few weeks here I'll be walking around in a fleece jacket and windbreaker and jeans....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The 5th Arrival

I've never experienced the strange feeling of a time warp the way that I do when I come back to the Ice. This place is bizarre in that every time I arrive here, it's like I never left, and every time I leave, it's like I was never here. Some strange dream I can't quite explain in which 5 months of my life is defined as one long day because of the 24 hours of daylight, yet I sleep, and thus experience those dreams within a dream. I found myself in Alaska this summer staring at a world map on a wall in the hostel I was at, trying to decide where to place my pin to indicate where I was from, and finally settled on marking McMurdo as home. That was both unsettling and centering at the same time. To associate this place as home more than other places, seems strange, but then at the same time, I realized that I've come to a place in my life where home is truly about being comfortable in your own skin wherever you are.

The picture is a satellite image from above of Ross Island and the Ross Sea, as well as the continent. Ross Island is that little black outlined shape in the middle of the image, McMurdo Station is on the edge of the thin point pointing towards the bottom of the photo. The dark space to the upper right is the ocean, and the white edge that surrounds it is the beginning of the ice shelf. The line from top to bottom of the photo that goes through the middle is the edge of the Antarctic continent.

"peace. it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart." -unknown

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I've done it

Well, after years of resistance to the fad of blogging, I've finally broken down and created one. I'm actually curious to see how much more efficient this might be than my tremendously long emails I was sending home to all of you previously. This blog is being created from the Windsor Bed & Breakfast in Christchurch New Zealand as I wait to deploy to McMurdo Station, Antarctica for my 5th season "On The Ice." While I think back on all of the past few years of items that I would have posted, it's a good thing that I can't access those photos right now as I may never leave this computer. So, instead I will just have to start from where I am at and I think that is often the best place to start from. Enjoy....