13 January 2010
I spent the day travelling by helicopter across parts of Antarctica. Courtesy of the National Science Foundation. They have my unparalleled gratitude. We flew through the famous Dry Valleys of Antarctica. Likely the driest spot on Earth is here. We also landed on the edge of the sea ice to look at Adele Penguins and Whales.
The Dry Valleys are one of the hottest research spots in the world. The biology in Lake Hoare is unlike anything on Earth. It is teaching NASA how to look for life on Mars and other planets. It is also teaching us more about our own planet. I’m talking major discoveries that I will write more about when I return.
The Geology is like walking on the Moon. Metamorphic paradise! At Cape Royds it is totally volcanic. No soil anywhere here. Just rock.
We ended the day at Cape Royds near McMurdo. There is a huge Adele Penguin colony here. If you want to know more about it go to
I met the researcher there and she does some fabulous things for school kids around the world. You can find out all about it on the website with daily updates on the Adele chicks.
This post is basically just an update with some pictures. Bandwidth is very limited here at McMurdo and the Internet may go down before I even get this posted. We just heard here of the tragic earthquake in Haiti from the BBC.
Tomorrow we fly for 3 hours to the WAIS Divide site where they are drilling the climate ice cores. Conditions there on the Plateau ar every similar to the Pole,, so it will be an extremely demanding day.
After 5 days here, I can tell you that in Antarctica, you are always either too cold, too warm, too thirsty and never NOT tired. It’s not a place for the faint of heart.
Last, but certainly not least, I visited Ernest Shackleton’s 1907 hut today. My admiration for the man has grown leaps and bounds after being here. The hut is much as he left it 103 years ago! Yes, I have pictures!
I end with a snap of the inside of Shackleton’s hut. As he left it a century ago.