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> Discovery Hut and Blubber, December 21, 2005
post Dec 21 2005, 11:04 AM
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Discovery Hut and Blubber
21 December, 2005 – Summer Solstice Antarctica, Four Days ‘Til Christmas

For those interested in things Antarctic, check out the weekly Antarctic newspaper at http://AntarcticSun.usap.gov

Hello from the Ice!
For additional Antarctic pics, check out the Gallery.

Where’s Rosenberger?
Hut Point Peninsula, Ross Island, Antarctica

On August 6, 1901, Captain Robert Falcon Scott sailed from England in Discovery, a specially built wooden steam-powered ship, on a well-equipped scientific expedition for its time. After sailing around in the Antarctic waters, Scott established winter quarters on Ross Island by mid-February, 1902, on Hut Point Peninsula (now adjacent to McMurdo Research Station). Although the hut was built onshore, the ship Discovery was frozen into the ice and the men used the ship for living accommodations instead of the cold and cramped hut. The hut was used for scientific studies, some cooking, storage, and theatre. Yes, theatre. It was called “The Royal Terror Theatre” and the men would put on plays, complete with costumes they brought from England. This hut is now an historic monument and people may only enter it with a guide and a maximum of eight people inside at any time. This morning I joined a tour going to the hut and we walked the quarter mile or so along the shore of McMurdo Sound with Giles, our guide.
> Scott's Discovery Hut:
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In the spring of 1902, on November 2, Scott set out on skis with two other men, 19 dogs, and five supply sledges to claim the South Pole (90 degrees South) for Britain. Unfortunately, they had never skied or driven sled dogs before, so they floundered and made many mistakes. They only got to 82 degrees South before they had to turn around. The dogs got weaker and weaker on the way back and were shot one by one and fed to the other dogs (Hmm…something’s not right here). The men were in no better shape, suffering from scurvy, general malnutrition, and exhaustion, but they didn’t shoot each other for food.

This seal was killed for food and then left on the porch. Since it is so cold and dry here, meat does not decay as it does in warmer climates.
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> Scott had to finance his expeditions by taking on sponsors:
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> Biscuits, anyone?
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> Nice pants (Dockers?)
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> What's for dinner?
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> Seal blubber filets piled against the wall, waiting to be cooked. Remember, nothing "rots" in Antarctica, even 100-year-old meat! Although it looks pretty nasty, it doesn't smell. Hungry?
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> Onions helped keep away scurvy:
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> Oatmeal for breakfast?
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> One room in the Hut was used for scientific studies. And no, I have no idea what these are, even though I am a science teacher:
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The following summer, the ship Discovery still had not unfrozen from the ice and the British government sent word that if it wasn’t freed in six weeks, they would have to abandon it. Well, Scott didn’t want to “Abandon ship,” so he dug and chopped and blasted the ice with dynamite until the ice finally released his ship on February 16, 1904, and they sailed for home. He would return in 1910 for another attempt at the Pole, giving up his life on this second journey for the glory that would have been his had he made it first to the Pole and then survived the trip back.

Heading back into the present with McMurdo Station in the background:
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Did you know?
There are 18 different species of penguins, all living south of the equator. Only four species of penguin live on the continent of Antarctica: The Emperor penguin, the Adelie penguin, the Chinstrap penguin, and the Gentoo penguin. Other penguin species live on islands around Antarctica, and one species even lives in the Galapagos Islands.

Current Conditions at McMurdo Station
Beautiful, sunny day here but fairly windy. Flights were cancelled due to “impending” weather (and many people who hope to get home for Christmas have “impending” dismay). The low pressure system over the Ross Ice Shelf could bring more snow tonight.

Right now:
Good visibility but lowering clouds
Pressure: 29.615 inHg
Winds from SE at 13 knots
Temperature: 25 oF/-4 oC with wind chill: 9 F/ -13 C
Sunset: February 20 at 1:38 am
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Robert Keck
post Dec 21 2005, 08:58 PM
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Will you still be at McMurdo around 11 to 16 January? I will arrive on the Kapitan Khlebnikov within
that time period it is estimated. It's been great reading about your adventures.

Robert Keck
Ocean Beach, San Diego fkob@earthlink.net
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