Saturday, January 16, 2010

A gorgeous clear day with lots to do

Today has been fantastic! Such a beautiful clear day with so much to see and do. Just after breakfast two groups of Adelie penguins came out to play .. right outside Scott Base! They were amazing! Really the cutest things ever!! Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me at the time, but I'm hoping they will pop their heads up around the place again while I'm down here. I'm told it's a rarity that they would be around the Base at all though, so I will not keep my hopes up too much.

This morning Jana and I had a site visit with Peter Brookeman - the Base engineer, so we have checked out the turbines and surrounding area so that we can properly prepare for our site monitoring work. We were then lucky enough to spend some time with Tanya O'Neill learning a bit about how she does her soil and disturbance sampling etc. This was really an invaluable experience for both Jana and I. After base meeting we managed to organise a visit with Margaret, one of the science technicians here at Scott Base, to Arrival Heights (a beautifully located, newly re-vamped set of offices that are used for science and the same location has been used for long term monitoring for ~25 years now! Thus the site has a relatively long history and therefore has a substantial scientific value). After that we went to spend some time at Scott's Discovery Hut which was built in 1902. Jana and I then spent this evening wandering up Crater Hill. It was so clear and absolutly stunning! Sights I had only before dreamed of seeing! Erebus was cloud free, apart from the odd puff of smoke that she created; Black Island, White Island and Minna Bluff were clearly visible; the Royal Society mountain range looked stunning ... it was purely magical! I just wish that everyone could see it! Anyway .. check out the photos that follow .. they provide a pretty good insight to the day I have had :)

The wind turbines which were offically opened today

Opening the door to the shaft of turbine one

Steps leading up to the top of the turbine tower

Andree showing us the control box for the tower

And inside the control box .. it all looked pretty impressive!

Tanya and I digging a soil pit .. we could only reach a depth of ~25 cm due to the presence of permafrost (frozen soil)

Me posing

Getting the grand tour of the interior of the Arrival Heights Science Lab

And the tour continued taking us right up onto the roof, here Margaret pointed out many landmarks to help me orientate myself

Aren't the clouds amazing?!?!

Pointing out the wind turbines in the distance

Discovery Hut, built in 1902 under the direction of Scott

Artefacts from inside the hut

Me inside the dining room of the Discovery Hut

Sheep still hanging in a small room off from the front door, waiting for some desparately hungry explorers to come along

Outside the Hut - the timber is all so beautifully weathered

A mummified seal

Vince's Cross: positioned on Hut Point, near Discovery Hut to commerate a young member of the British Antarctic Expedition who lost his life in 1902

Skuas - one of the bird species found in Antarctica

A view of Scott Base from half way up Crater Hill

The wind turbines against the awesome evening sky

Me admiring the view of Mt. Erebus from Crater Hill

Taking in the scenery

Jana and I at the top of Crater Hill .. the evening was just stunning; views - Absolutly Gorgeous!!

A real feeling of being on top of the world (despite our southern location!)

All in all an amazing day on this incredible continent!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow Natalie, you are so ... south! The sceanary is hilarious, and I'm glad you are enjoying this amazing trip. The blog said that you posted at 3:50 am, but is the time same to NZ? Or do you even have diurnal routine under a white night? So much things to wonder, but it is sure that you definitely need to take penguins' photos for us!!

take care,