Well okay – we are starting out this day at a nice ONE degree F. (Nice balmy day – until the wind picks up later and it will be around -9F with windchill!)
Oooh, last night’s leadership training was great. Found out we ‘guides’ will be taking people to the ICE CAVES and Pressure Ridges – as well as the regular Discovery Hut, Cape Evans and Cape Royds. This Sunday we will be having a TRAINING TRIP to the ICE CAVES!
The Caves are located in the Erebus tongue / glacier that is long and narrow (hence the name). We were shown how and where we enter. Some climbing, some bending, some sliding down a slope on bottoms and Wallah! We stand in a beautiful area! Sunday – we will leave at noon – and it may take us 6 hours or longer. There are some new guides that haven’t been to Cape Evans, so this trip will include that ‘stop’ as well.
About the hut at Cape Evans: (taken from our training info)
In 1908 Robert Falcon Scott decided that he would take a sabbatical from his life as a military man and once again set out to the southern most continent to stake his claim. He did not know at the time that his “run” for the South Pole would become a race, or that it would be the last journey he would ever take. After a few years of fundraising, Scott was ready to go to the Pole. In 1910 he and his men sailed from New Zealand into the familiar seas leading to McMurdo Sound. The journey is unforgettable, and the men have become heroes.
The Trip to Antarctica
For his trip to Antarctica, Scott purchased the Terra Nova. He had originally, wanted to bring the Discovery(The ship used on his first expedition), but the owners would not sell it to him. He settled for the Discovery’s sister ship, Terra Nova that had also been used during the first expedition. During the trip South, Scott wished more than once that he had chosen a different chip. It was warm, but it leaked. During a storm on December 2, 1910, the bilge pumps stopped working and the crew had to empty water from the ship using buckets. The storm also caused problems for the animals. The dogs that were leashed on the top deck were being thrown around and the horses in the underbelly of the ship were slowly being covered in water. When all was said and done the expedition lost one dog and two ponies. It was a difficult loss, especially since one dog and one pony had died before the Terra Nova left port. It could have been seen as a bad omen, but the captain and crew kept in good spirits. Just over a month after they had left New Zealand, the men of the Terra Nova spotted the smoking peak of Mt. Erebus. The initial plan was to land near Cape Crozier, but they were unable to do so because of the sea ice. They sailed back to the familiar territory of McMurdo Sound and stopped at the Skuary, which Scott quickly renamed Cape Evans in honor of his second in command, Teddy Evans. As the men were unloading the boat, disaster struck once again. Ponting, the expedition’s photographer, was almost eaten by a group of killer whales (Orca) and one of the very expensive motorized sledges that Scott had brought fell through the sea ice leaving them with only two.
The Hut at Cape Evans
The hut that was originally built in New Zealand the previous October was unloaded onto the shore, put together, and occupied within two weeks. The hut is 50 feet long, 25 feet wide, and reached to nine feet at the peak. Its double doors, during Scott’s expedition, were insulated with quilted seaweed and lined with felt. The roof was covered with three-ply rubberoid and the floor was laid with linoleum. The hut was equipped with acetylene gas jets, stoves, clotheslines, clocks, and a gramophone. The stoves were used to heat the hut. The floor was kept below freezing so that any snow that got into the hut could be easily swept out. Mid-body level was kept at about 50 degrees, and the rafters would get up to 70 degrees (all Fahrenheit). The warmth of the air at the top of the hut was used to melt buckets of ice for the men to use for their baths once a week. The two sides of the hut were separated using crates, mostly of wine. On the left side of the hut were the officer’s quarters, and the crewmen slept on the right. Scott slept by himself on the far left corner of the hut. His room was separated from the rest using sheets. He used a linoleum-covered table as a desk for work. It is the table that now holds books and the penguin. Across from Scott’s bed were the beds of Edward Atkinson, the expedition’s surgeon, and George Simpson its meteorologist. On the other side of the wall from Scott’s room there is a grouping of beds. That is where the rest of the officers, including Oates, Cherry-Garrard, Bowers, and Meares. This section was known as “The Tenements” because it was so cramped and there were very few items other than necessities. Oates’ only luxury was a bust of Napoleon that he kept next to his bed. Ponting made himself a darkroom and slept in it.
To be continued!…….