Friday, January 28, 2011
Cape Evans Centenary 4/01/2011
Today marks One Hundred years since the landing of Scott and his 24 men, on the ship Terra Nova at Cape Evans. In the coming weeks they erected the Terra Nova hut in anticipation for the coming winter, various scientific endeavors and ultimately attainment of the South Pole (some 30 odd days behind the Norwegian Amundsen).
(The Tennements as they were)
Whilst there were no big celebrations planned there was a definite sense of occasion as we set off for work on Scotts hut, still standing tall after one hundred years on the harshest continent on earth. It was the usual work around the hut finishing off re-cladding the roof, repairing the stables and treating various atrefacts (currently Oates bed frame).
(recladding the roof)
As we worked through the evening an Emperor penguin approached us across the fractured sea-ice coming right up to the hut within arm’s reach of us. We watched intently as he carried on intrigued in our behaviour. Up close they truly are an impressive creature. Astonishingly large in stature both high and wide, their size enormous in comparison to their adelie cousins, the colour of their coats so stunning you could look for hours. It was certainly a moment to remember as well as a stark contrast (beyond the obvious) to the taxidermy penguin sitting on Scotts study table.
After dinner I went for a walk to view the world from the lookout towards inaccessible island managing to avoid the usual attack by nesting Skua. Ahead lays open water in the distance with groups of seals and penguins surrounding the water as the Trans Antarctic ranges provide inspirational backdrop. As the snow began to fall lightly it became as serene as ever, imagining a group of men frantically unloading the ship to spend over a year isolated from the rest of the world to conquer the last frontier on earth. Whichever way you think about it the determination of those men was second to none, the stories of their hardships dressed down as only small hurdles.
To end the day I had a walk around the hut as per usual. Sir David Attenborough described the Terra Nova hut as “a time warp without parallel”. Also a pretty cool way to wind down at the end of the day.