GOLF 4-3-9 Antarctica Expedition 2008
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After completing our mission on Mt Erebus, we finally flew back to McMurdo and began to prepare for departure from Antarctica. The weather is warming and we have a bit more available time. It was a beautiful day for a walk, even though the sea ice edge is still miles away and it feels almost "spring-like", for the Antarctic anyway. There are several historic huts still remaining in the area, but the only one within walking distance of McMurdo station is the Discovery Hut. Laurie took a few walks from McMurdo Station to Discovery Hut, so named after Captain Scott’s ship The Discovery. This hut was built in February 1902 and used by several expeditions over the next decade. Ernest Shackelton used the hut as a storage point for his Nimrod expedition (1907-1909) and Captain Scott used it again for his Terra Nova expedition (1910-1913). The last expedition that used the hut was Shackelton’s Aurora expedition (1915-1917) where they used it to assist laying depots for a Trans-Antarctic attempt. The Antarctic Heritage Trust is working hard to maintain the historic huts in the area and preserve them for future visitors.
On a small knoll above the hut is a cross called Vince’s Cross, commemorating the life of a sailor, George Vince, who drowned near there in 1902. He slipped down an icy slope during a storm and fell into the seawater. His body was never recovered. Able Bodied Seaman Vince was the first man of the "heroic era" of Antarctic exploration to lose his life in the McMurdo area, there were more to follow.
Captain Robert Falcon Scott wrote in his journal at the time: "Tuesday, March 11, was to be one of our blackest days in the Antarctic.... From the moment when he joined us at the Cape of Good Hope, Vince had been popular with all; always obliging and always cheerful, I learnt that he had never shown these qualities more markedly that during the short sledge journey which brought him to his untimely end. His pleasant face and ready wit served to dispel the thought of the hardship and difficulty to the end. Life was a bright thing to him, and it is something to think that death must have come quickly in the grip of that icy sea."
Although accidents on the sea ice are now rare, we must always watch the conditions and make sure we are on stable ice when we travel. This is why we take sea ice travel training and FSTP routinely makes sea ice thickness measurements for the weekly sea ice report. It all is an effort to reduce our risks while still allowing us to carry on with our projects.
This brings us to the end of our reporting. We certainly enjoyed sharing our journey with you. GOLF439 will be back online when we return to recover our experiments in the Austral summer of 2009/10! Over and out!
|GOLF 4-3-9 Antarctica Expedition|