King penguins

Farthest south!


Day 13 - Inexpressible Island & Terra Nova Bay


     This journal is constructed as one web page for each day of my journey, including the arrival day in Auckland, and the final two days, which I spent in Hobart.  I have tried to keep the picture images of a reasonable size for easy web page loading.  To see a much larger view of (practically) any image, just left-click on the photo.

     It was a beautiful morning - sunny and crystal clear.  Quite a change since entering McMurdo Sound some days earlier.  In the morning we made a stop at Inexpressible Island.  In 1911, on Captain Scott dropped off a party of men at Cape Adare.  They wintered over there, and were picked up by the Terra Nova the following summer.  They were, then, dropped off at the present day Terra Nova Bay, charged with exploring the area.  Weeks later, when the ship headed north, they could not hook up, and the party had to fend for themselves during the next winter, building a snow cave for shelter.  [The ship dropped off some supplies, but they were not found by the party, and remained so until 1985!].   Eventually, they trekked across the ice to Hut Point, and, then, back towards Scott's camp at Cape Evans.

     Our landing was beset by katabatic winds, which made the captain uneasy, and prevented us from getting too close to shore.  So, it was quite a long zodiac ride in, the water was quite choppy and it was bitterly cold.  But, this is a rare landing, and we were quite pleased to having been able to stop here.  We couldn't stay too long, but I did walk over to the site of the old snow cave.  There were a few seals lounging around on the rocky shore, and a single Emperor penguin huddled against the cold, in its molting phase.  There is some kind of fresh water pond here, a decent-sized Adelie penguin colony and lots of nesting skuas.  There is also a research station here, unmanned at the time, that consisted of a tent.

Landing at Inexpressible Island.  A lone Adelie; research tent behind. Seal lounging on "beach."

"Campbell's Igloo, Inexpressible Island. This site is an historic monument and preserved in accordance with the provisions of the Antarctic Treaty.  It commemorates Scott's Northern Party, who built this igloo in 1923."

Sign marks snow cave of 1912. Dennis poses on Inexpressible Island.
     In the afternoon, we cruised into Terra Nova Bay, the site of an Italian research station.  The station is only operated on a seasonal basis, so nobody winters over here.  It was a magnificent sight - blue skies, warm weather, and icebergs that were awe-inspiring.  We all suspected that the Italians had chosen this spot for its aesthetics.

     We took a tour of the station.  They have some of the new units, set on jacks, that allow them to be raised, or lowered, depending on the conditions.  That is the way the new South Pole station has been designed.  Some of the station personnel provided us with cookies and punch, and had some items for sale - I picked up a mug and a cap.  The lure of wandering around is strong, but we just don't have the time to stay for long.  We did get to enjoy a leisurely zodiac ride back to the ship, cruising around the wonderfully-shaped icebergs.

Mt. Melbourne.  Icebergs on patrol. Flipped icebergs.

The Italian station.  Dennis at Terra Nova Bay. Fishy research in the lab.
     I sat between Art and Jane for dinner (geologist and trip leader, respectively).  I had a great time chatting with them about our trip and what we've been seeing.  Afterwards, I enjoy hanging out on the ship's bridge watching the landscape drift by.  The movie tonight is "Scott of the Antarctic."  I have a VHS copy of the movie and have seen it a couple of times.  It is something of a hoot, but the landscapes look very realistic.  Balla, who is in the cabin next to mine, said that the sunset and sunrise would be the same that night - at one in the morning.  But, it has been such a full day, I just can't stay awake for it!

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