21 November, 1998
Part of the view I keep describing from the Crary Lab windows. Mt. Discovery on the mainland of Antarctica is over 12,000 feet tall. The broad expanse of white is the frozen Ross Sea. It usually breaks up into open water in Feb ruary or January. You can see the ice- roads crossing the ice. The one on the right goes to Cape Evans where our fish hut is.
A Weddell Seal wakes up from his nap on the ice to look at the strange, two-legged critter walking by. I frequently see seals at Hut Point, near where the skidoos are parked by the old aquarium, and while travelling to and from our fish hut at Cape Evans.
Hut Point Hut, where Scott stayed in 1908, with modern McMurdo Base in the background. My dorm is the furthest right in the row of brown buildings. Observation Hill is in the background on the right.
Marco, a paleontologist from Italy, and Tim, a mineralogist from New Zealand mark some of the Cape Roberts drill core where they want samples extracted for their thorough examinations. They will learn information that can tell them about the past geological and climatological history of the Earth.
The old aquarium building houses numerous large tanks full of Antarctic fish and invertebrates. This one has a water heater in it to maintain the normally frigid seawater (-1.86 C)at a "balmy" 4 C for the experiments that we ar e doing on the fish chloride cells. It is almost too warm for the fish, but it is still too cold to leave your hands in for more than a few seconds as many of you know from the blubber glove activity!
The Skua is the only bird that can be seen at McMurdo at this time of year. I have seen as many as 15 sitting on the nearby ice. This one was scavenging fish from the bait bags next to the old aquarium. It was amazingly tame. I shot the photo from only about a meter or two away! Skuas used to be abundant here in previous years when all the garbage was just tossed in a pile outside. The cleaner waste disposal practices now mean less food for the skuas and less dependence on man. To see penguins before the break-up of the sea-ice, one must go on a long skidoo or helicopter ride, and this requires special permission.
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