27 January, 1998

Hello from NBP! What a gorgeous day! I know, I've been telling you that the mountains are spectacular . . . but today the sun was shining down on them . . . and we had some track lines that went fairly close to the shore . . . and it was awesome! Some of the people on the ship said it was one of the ten prettiest days that they have seen down here! I also saw several Adelie penguins today and a crabeater seal. It seems like the ship might have woke the penguins up, because I watched one of them stretch and then stand up to run to the other side of the iceberg. They look very clumsy running on land (it's more like a waddle)! He eventually laid on his stomach and slid across the ice to the other side before diving into the water!

One of the things that Cape Adare is famous for is the largest Adelie penguin rookery in Antarctica. No wonder I've finally seen penguins! There may be as many as two and a half million breeding pairs of Adelies in the Antarctic, and Cape Adare has about 250,000 nesting pairs during the austral summer (southern hemisphere summer). The name Adelie comes from the French explorer Dumont d'Urville (in honor of his wife). Adelies are smaller than king and emperor penguins, and they have no gray or orange markings like some penguins. They can live to be twenty years old, and they like to live on rocky, ice-free areas. The most southerly colony of Adelie penguins lives on Ross Island, not far from McMurdo Station. What type of penguin is the most northerly species?

Guess what we had for dessert today! It's something that I've been craving since arriving in Antarctica . . . chocolate ice cream! Somehow, the chef made a large batch of it in this huge pan! We were able to dip into the pan with an ice cream scoop and get ice cream with both our lunch and dinner! It was wonderful! And to make a great thing even better, there was chocolate syrup, pecan pieces, and whipped cream to go on top! It was delicious! (and you thought I was roughing it!)

Well, let's take a moment to answer yesterday's questions . . .

1) What do you suppose happens to the trash that is produced on this ship? There are a few things that are collected and returned to shore for recycling. These things include batteries, some metal, and glass. Aerosol cans are also collected and returned to shore. Everything else is incinerated (burned). There are special screens to remove all of the parcticulates from the incineration process. The ash and any remaining materials (like unburned metal) are returned to either McMurdo Station or Lyttelton, New Zealand. In New Zealand, they are buried in a landfill.

2) What do you suppose happens to the trash that is produced at McMurdo Station (or taken there)? In the old days, much of it was dumped at sea. Thankfully, people realized that this was a bad way to get rid of garbage! With the temperatures this cold, decomposition is very, very slow! Today, we are much more aware of the environment, and no garbage is dumped or stored permanently on the continent. Every season, a large ship comes down to McMurdo Station bringing supplies. It is filled up with garbage before it leaves and then takes the garbage to Seattle, Washington. McMurdo Station is very careful about recycling, and many of the materials are recycled once they get to the U.S. The rest of it is buried in a landfill.

I hope that you are having a great week! I know that I am! I'm looking forward to more email questions ... thanks so much for writing!

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