|Travel Log: December 18th, 1997|
Picture of the Day
play in the snow after their
DECEMBER 18th, 1997Janice enjoyed an especially adventurous trip to McMurdo Station this morning. Near the end of her flight from the South Pole to McMurdo Station there was a "white out" due to fog surrounding the airport at McMurdo. The pilots executed an emergency landing in a nearby field. No damage was done to the plane and no passengers were injured. After the landing the passengers debarked and played in the snow for two hours while waiting for the rescue team to arrive. The tale is recounted in Janice's own words below. Randy is still at the South Pole for at least another two days.
See also Travel Tales below!
Date: 18 Dec 97
Yea!! The emergency search and rescue team arrived and off we went.
Riding in the Haglund was not very comfortable, but it was our safe ride
home. We started our journey at 11:30 pm on Dec. 17 and now it was 6:00
am. Dec. 18. I was so tired that being cramped with 12 others in the
vehicle and the bumpy ride did not stopped me from going to sleep. Upon
arrival at Willy Base, we boarded a van for another ride of about 45 min.
At last we arrived at McMurdo and I was shocked at how warm -01 degrees
Celcius (30 degrees F) felt having just come from the sub zero
temperatures at the Pole.
My flight to Christchurch originally was to be Friday, Dec. 19, but that has been cancelled. I am now scheduled to leave Sat. Dec. 20. I've learned that things can change at a moments notice here. Weather is always a factor. The weather along the coast of Antarctica is always unpredictable. Hopefully it will be great and I can get on to Christchurch on Sat. I plan to enjoy my stay here and learn as much as possible about the station. It is very beautifly with the mountains surrounding the area. The actual station looks like a mining town with all the dark dirt and mud around. McMurdo is refered to as Mud Town because the dark volcanic ash that the land is made of turns to mud in the melting snow. The snow is very different here than at pole. It is wetter and softer. Some of the drier snow on the frozen McMurdo Sound is blown toward land by the wind. Being pelted by these snow particles is like being in a dust storm. The difference being that the particles quickly melt leaving one clean.
Sites in McMurdo include the Greenhouse- What an oasis in this land of ice and snow. The warmth and humidity of the building felt comforting. It is a place where some visit to relax. It is a small building, but a hamock is readily available for anyone that wants to just hang out among the greenery. A radio is available for those that require this stimulation. My personal preference was the be bathed in the quietness of the environment. Upon enterting the building, the first thing that I saw were vines with lush green leaves and large voluptuous cucumbers. The plants are grown by hydroponics. A sign on the tomatoes indicated that tobaco cases tomatoe plants to be succeptible to Black Spot disease. Thus, people that smoke are to wash their hands before touching the tomato plants. Wow! What a great science project this could be. Other plants that I saw growing were, beans, peas, dill, basil, lettuce, rubarb, jalepeno and bell peppers. The greenhouse provides the fresh vegetables during the winter and supliments the fresh vegetable supply when more people are at the station during the summer. The Antarctic treaty between the various countries restricts the growth of plants except those used for food. I did suggest that there are many edible flowers. Maybe in the future this greenhouse will have beautiful flowers. The yellow cucumber flowers were more beautiful that I had ever seen.
I am in a spacious room with computers here with large windows that look out on McMurdo Sound. Mountains are everywhere. I think all of the mountains are volcanoes. I'll check on that. Mt Erebus is the only active volcano on Anarctica and it is here on Ross Island where McMurdo is. I wouldn't mind seeing a small volcanic eruption as long as everyone was unharmded. How about a little smoke out its top. I've heard that this happens so maybe I'll see it.