Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas in Antarctica

In Antarctica Christmas comes a day earlier than in the US. Here is a group of carolers in the lower left corner. In the background is the frozen sea ice.

Penguins are the favorite animal here, of course, and these are in the dining room.

Like at home, eating was a major theme of the day. Here we are at Christmas brunch. Stockings in the background. There is a tree, but it didn't make it into the picture.

This is a display of gingerbread houses. Below is a spread of exotic cheese and other delicacies.

Here is our "family group" for the Christmas feast. These are all new and wonderful friends. We had prime rib, roast duck, crab legs, shrimp, all the usual trimmings, and too many kinds of dessert to count.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ice Dive

We have become acquainted with an under-ice dive team. The hut on the left contains the hole where the divers descend. The hut on the right is where the self-propelled camera goes down. It's steered by a person inside the hut.

This is the hole that the divers use. Looks chilly, doesn't it. The ice here is 20 feet thick. The water below is 28 degrees F.

These divers are Stacy, who heads the team, and Francois.

Stacy puts on her flippers. Her suit is a "dry suit." Under it are two layers of long underwear.

They get ready to descend.

Stacy jumps in.

This is the picture the camera gives us of what the divers see. The square is the wire frame in front of the camera that protects it when it bumps the bottom of the ocean. The divers like this water because it is very clear--no algae.
The camera is steered by a person above the ice. I got to drive it! What the camera sees is projected onto a screen in the hut.

The camera is looking up the dive hole.

The dive tenders were very surprised to see something--the camera--come UP the hole!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Stunning Ice Formations

This week I got to take a special trip to the New Zealand base not far from here to see the ice formations made of ocean ice, called Pressure Ridge. They are caused by sheets of ice pushing against each other, and the ice getting pushed up as a result.
The formations are quite big as you can see with people beside them.

Everyone's favorite was this one, which looks like frog smiling.

Some of the formations were blocks.

Some of the more recently-formed ones are a gorgeous color of blue.

This is the sun shining through ice.

And more sun shining through.

This is a row of small pointed formations.

A split.

The whole thing reminded me of a white, sparkly, shiny version of the rock formations in Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.