Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Back to summer, at least for a couple days

After enjoying a nice dark night for a change I was rudely awoken by the sun this morning.  That thing is persistent.  So I rose to try to figure out what to do today.  I soon discovered sweating was going to be in the agenda.  It was in the mid-20's C or 70's F today--much warmer than I am used to.  I walked about town.  Took in the sights I enjoyed on my way down here early last month.  After walking I decided a nice run would be in store--in shorts and a short sleeve shirt nonetheless--no more runs bundled like Kenny from South Park.

It was great to get out, enjoy the sights, the smells, the sounds.  The layout of the city is very pedestrian friendly and easy to get about.  So I did just that.  Down to the Cathedral Square--which by the way is where the priests that work in McMurdo are from.  They rotate about once a month during the summer and have had a presence there since the US Navy began there operations in 1955.

 One unique note about the Cathedral is that during the Austral Winter, it houses the Erebus Chalice. In 1841, Sir James Clark Ross, aboard the HMS Erebus, led an expedition to what is now the Ross Sea. On board the ship was Lieutenant Edward Joseph Bird, who carried a silver and gilt William IV style communion chalice. Bird attained the rank of admiral, and when he died the chalice was passed through his family as an heirloom. In 1987 the Bird family, commemorating the 75th anniversary of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated 1911 expedition to the South Pole, had the chalice engraved and dedicated, and offered it for use at the Chapel of the Snows. The chalice was first used in services in the chapel on Christmas Day, 1987. At the beginning of the Antarctic summer the chalice is presented in a ceremony to the McMurdo chaplain, for transport back to the Chapel of the Snows. 

Side note, back to Antarctica, I went to a few services there, after one I was looking at the case with the Chalice (it's behind glass inside the chapel) and the Father said "Want a better look? Let me take it out for you! Get a picture with it too!" So I did!  A really neat artifact and piece of history rarely seen off the continent.

So anyways, back to New Zealand...the gardens were still in full bloom, birds everywhere, cicadas calling to each other in the heat of the day--a standard summer afternoon.  Along the Avon River people rode along in punting boats, which are flat bottom boats guided along like the gondoliers of Venice.

Staring contest....GO!

Punting along the Avon
 As I wandered back from having a pint and some fish for dinner, I heard bag pipes.  As I got closer I realized they were in the park next to my hotel.  They were gathering and practicing for an upcoming event.  Men, women, young and old all played and practiced into the evening air. It was a great surprise before heading off to check out the cityscape by night.

A tribute to R.F. Scott and all the men and women of the Antarctic program along the river front.

Modern Art Museum curves at sunset

Cathedral Square by night

So with that, I am signing off for this travelogue.  There will be more I promise, but for now I need to repack my gear and go to bed in preparation for GOING HOME tomorrow (and back to Winter where I left it)!!!

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