I think I may have missed a day, as things were pretty exciting around here! First I’ll start with yesterday’s trip to the ICE CAVE! There were 3 Delta loads of ‘Volunteer Tour Guides’ who were in “training” to do the ice caves. Of course we should schedule a trip of our own first – before adding in participants! Since a few had never been to Cape Evans – we started there first. (I wrote about it a couple of days ago.) the anchor is still visible outside on the beach. The men awoke one morning to discover the ship was “gone”. It is quite easy for anyone to stand on that beach and get a close “feel” to what that experience must have felt like!! I did take more photos. It is truly amazing to stand where these explorers stood.
On our way back to McMurdo (Cape Evans is approximately ONE and 1/2 HOURS away) – we stopped at the Erebus glacial tongue for our “training”!!! That was incredible! This glacier is moving 12 inches PER DAY.
I tried NOT to think about it moving while I’m INSIDE it. We did have to slide down an “ice chute”. to enter. (Yes, I was wondering HOW you slide back UP that shoot on the way OUT.) The cave is very small – but breathtaking – and scary – and slippery! I touched a glacier. A MOVING glacier. I stood inside the cave, touching the moving glacier, and smiled. …”cool”… We only spent 5 minutes inside – I grabbed as many photos as I could. (With hopes that I will return and give a few tours of it on my own later.) The climb OUT…. was ‘toe holds” notched into the snow on either side of our sliding down chute. Obviously some long-legged man formed them. I felt like I was doing some “Antarctica- Sumo-dance” move each time I stretched from one side… up and over … to the other side.
The reason we had to RUSH through our ice cave tour was due to 2 of the 3 deltas getting stuck SEVERAL times on the way back. NOPE- I wasn’t driving. We were also letting some of the volunteer drivers get some practice in. So I was inside the cab as an observer. I also was an observer to all the shoveling it took! The Deltas carry two long, thick plywood boards to use under the wheels for these special little occasions. The Delta behind us, passed us…. and made it 200 feet before getting stuck. We dug out… passed them for 200 feet and got stuck. They dug out – passed us….and we jump-frogged like that most of the way back!!! (Also, my record is still intact- my “Indian name” still holds!)
The day was absolutely perfect -except for the melting snow on the sea ice. The day before had been CONDITION TWO. Horrible winds… blowing/blinding snow. All the locations except for inside the town of McMurdo were Condition Two, which meant you had to call the Firehouse before leaving to state who you were – where you were going and and ETA. Then once you reached that location – you had to radio back to let them know you made it. I walked quite a distance in it – just to enjoy. (Had the wind to my back – which helped me get back to the office faster!) Had it been in my face… I would’ve radioed for help!
There are more things to tell. TEACHERS: I have some websites to post here soon…..but right now I have to get to breakfast and up the hill to work!