Friday, December 17, 2010

Special Guests

It is Wednesday December the first and a somewhat exciting day at camp. The weather is fine yet again for the visit of the Artists. They have been invited to travel to Antarctica as part of an Antarctica New Zealand initiative. Amongst the artists is musician Dave Dobbyn, photographer Laurence Aberhart and Sculptor Joe Sheehan, all extremely talented and nice people. In their trip to Cape Royds they visited the hut, looked at the near-by penguin rookery and had a chat with us. Laurence also took the opportunity to take some long exposure photos within the hut using a century old camera similar to that used by Herbert Ponting and Frank Wild in the heroic era of Antarctic exploration.

red socks handshake with Dave Dobbyn
I also had the opportunity to show off the ‘swingle tree’ I found yesterday whilst excavating the stables. The swingle tree is the first to be found at Cape Royds so far. It is a wooden piece with hemp rope fixed at each end, the swingle tree was positioned behind the ponies when they dragged sleds and stopped the rope from rubbing the on pony’s hind quarters. The attached wooden toggle to the rope also seemed to have some dog chew marks in it, a nice piece of character added to the object.To make this find even more special Lizzie (Head Conservator) found a picture of it in use last night in a book on the Nimrod expedition.

swingle tree
In addition to the visit from the artists Lizzie and Al also gave us a first class tour of the hut. It was great to be talked through all the little details of the hut. Little things that you wouldn’t normally pick up on were highlighted making the building come to life with character. Stories of Shackleton’s leadership and seeing his signature etched on the wall along with Mawson’s lab (complete with a slide door to access under the building) were stand out in the details pointed out to us.

Shackleton’s signature on the head board on one of the bunks
Overall a busy, yet exciting past few days with nice weather and some esteemed company.

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