Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Sunday full of sea spiders, seals, skis and spills

Sunday.  A day of rest.  The day off in town.  Folks try to enjoy themselves, let their hair down a bit, for some maybe wash their hair for the week.  This place can be a little granola and very green which is great but sometimes people need to introduce themselves to a bar of soap for the sake of the masses here. I digress...

Sunday, a day of rest....and exploring a little.  I went over to Crazy Laboratory for their weekly tour of what's going on in the wonderful world of science.  Its a huge 3 tiered lab set up for all the science teams to work in before, during and after their field work is complete.  It's a very impressive set up according to the folks working in there.  At a glance I'd have to agree.
Our tour guide, one of the lab supervisors
Smile! Who knew those cute little seals had chompers like this!
Meteorites--the continent is full of them.  Easy to spot too as big black rocks on white ice.
Sea urchin hanging out as part of an ocean acidifacation study
No sea urchins were harmed during the production of this blog... 

A starfish and his sea spider friend hamming it up for the camera
I think I ate 6-7 of his beer-battered cousins for dinner tonight
So after the Crary Lab tour I hiked out to Hut Point to check out some critters that poked up through a crack in the ice.  A couple of HUGE Weddell Seals that decided to come up and sun themselves for the afternoon.

These guys are probably 10 feet long each and probably 1000 lbs each.
Catching some rays on the sea ice of Mcmurdo Sound

One of the many memorial crosses of Ross Island
 After hiking out to the point and back, I decided to give cross country skiing a whirl.  Never did it before.  Big alpine skier.  Sure lets try something new.  We have free gear rental, 5,400,000 square miles of ice and snow.  Should be a good match!  My first mistake was delaying my decision to rent until late yesterday. Choice was limited.  My second was letting someone convince me to grab a pair of skate skis over traditional.  Apparently there is a large difference I learn after the fact and while traditional is not as exciting it is definitely EASIER than skating.  So I probably did about 3 miles total. I punted after a mile and half of frustration.  I told my friends to go on with their workout because they were waiting every 10 feet for me to get up off my butt.  It was fun but frustrating.  Now I am crazy sore.  I am hoping the traditional skis work out better for me.
Greetings from the Ross Ice Shelf!
Skiing past the ramp area of the Sea Ice runway (NZIR) at Mcmurdo along with  LC-130, Basler and Twin Otter aircraft
So at least the views out on the ice shelf are beautiful so I can take away something positive because I think I will be negatively reminded of my experience each time I sit this week!  I'm not too proud to take tips if anyone has any!  I hope everyone has a great week! This week flew--I hope they keep ticking away like this one.

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