Outdoor opportunities (question for Mike)

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    Hello –

    First off, thanks, Mike, for being so diligent about sharing your Ice knowledge – I know that I, an about-to-PQ first-year DA, and I’m sure everyone else on this board, have really appreciated everything you’ve had to share.

    Anyway, my question is: what sort of outdoor opportunities are there at McMurdo? Are there a lot of hikes one can take? Can you make it to the Dry Valleys, the huts, Mt Erebus, etc? Or are these places too far away? Can you make it onto the Ross Shelf, or even off Ross Island? I know that all employees only have 1 day off per week, so I was just wondering what might be accomplished, hiking- or cross-country-wise, during this time.

    Just a bit of news, too: Raytheon received my Med & Dental packets today, and they say I should hear back about PQing by the end of the week! I really wish I could have gone down for WINFLY, but I’m sure it’ll be an amazing experience nonetheless – right? I hope MacTown won’t be so packed, and the temp so warm, that it won’t really feel like I’m “on the Ice” – do you know what I mean?

    All the best, and thanks again for the info –

    Hunter S.


    there are plenty of recreation opportunies. SeeRecreation for some photo’s. You can visit Scotts discovery hut anytime you want. It’s only a short walk out of town to hut point and you don’t have to sign out. It’s also one of the hikes you can do alone. The hut is a historic landmark and is locked but several times a year it is opened up and tours are given. Scott’s Cape Evans Hut is 15 miles away. There are usually trips sponsored by the recreation dept. several time a year. Sign up early if you see a notice on the bulletin board. The most popular hikes are the Castle Rock Loop Trail, which you will undoubtably do more than once. It’s a long walk but the climb to the top is fun and the view are spectacular.
    Ob hill is a little closer to town and is something you could do easily before or after work.
    Ski’s are available from recreation at a modest cost. You can ski the Armitage Loop, Willy field road, Ice runway road and the Castle Rock Loop trail. If you make friends with any of  the New Zealanders, you may get invited to go to the Kiwi Ski Hill.


    Hey Hunter

    As a DA your day off will 98% most-likely not be on Sunday with everyone else. This is a good thing if you want to get out of MacTown. I would recommend finding the scientists who are going down to the ice with you while you are in New Zealand and get to know them. Just mention that you are interested in helping out with anything at all and to keep you in mind. Everyone wants to be a science support helper, but they are hard to get unless your day off is something other than Sunday. Being a dive tender isn’t too hard to become as long as you e-mail whoever is in charge of such events early.

    But, do keep in a mind that a scientist cannot take you out of town (Beyond Cape Evans) without a clearance through the Chalet… but those shouldn’t be too hard to get. If you don’t get one, you will be fired and not all scientists know this.

    MainBody isn’t a bad time to go. You will be pumped on Antarctica no matter when you go down.




    Another great midweek science group to get to know are the people doing the fish studies. One in particular is the Mosinite*(spelling?) study group. More popularly known as the Antarctic Cod. They are able to swim in freezing water without ice crystal growing in their blood. Very strange fish and very very big. It’s quite a thrill to pull in one of those. Even more of a thrill because only the science groups with antarctic permits are allowed to fish.


    Do you eat the cod fish you catch. down their

    David L. Gibbs

    MSN 9 Dial-up Internet Access fights spam and pop-ups – now 3 months FREE!


    Its possible to eat some of the cod. However it’s somewhat limited to the fish that have been killed for study by the science groups.You have to be in the right place at the right time. Often the fish are given to the galley.
     Lots of fish are caught but those that don’t need to be killed are kept in a large aquarium which has sea water flowing into it. These are not necessarily killed. The only ones killed are the ones that must be cut open for study.
     In the case of the Mawsonite cod, it’s their blood and internal bodily fluids that are of interest. As the swim in 28 degree seawater that is turning to ice, you would expect that the freshwater in their blood would begin to freeze . The fish are injesting ice crystals and it is only natural to expect the crystals to grow and puncture the cell walls in their body. It’s thought that natural antifreeze proteins  attache to microscopic ice crystals and disrupt their ability to grow.
    When I first went to McMurdo I thought it was just an anomally. Something scientific with no real use. Over the years , though I keep hearing bits and pieces in the news about antarctic anti-freeze proteins. The latest was a couple of weeks ago in an article about ice cream. Ice cream needs tiny crystals to be creamy smooth and tasty. As the icecream warms up crystals grow giving icecream that old gritty taste. They are experimenting with these proteins to find a way to keep it ice cream tasty. Ive also heard of experiments which spray them on crops in freezing weather to stop frost from forming.
    In the future there is a tremendous potential medically for the antifreeze. Organs removed for transplanting could be frozen and kept healthier longer , Body temps brought down to freezing for operations etc.

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