Monday, November 9, 2015

Discovery Hut and More Preparation!

After lots of practice setting up and using our new equipment, we tested our skills yesterday morning when we were dropped at the top of a hill outside of town and asked to set up camp. With our new knowledge of the trucker's hitch and our not so warm gloves, we successfully used two stoves, an old HF radio, and our satellite phone.

Drew and I take a spin on the snowmobile!
In the afternoon we spent more time taking things in and out and in and out of our storage cage. We weighed and labeled all of our cargo to ensure we are under the weight limit for the helicopter. I also learned how to use a banding machine, so we could secure all of our wooden rock boxes with a metal band.
McMurdo station from Hut Point
After dinner we were able to walk over to Discovery Hut and tour the inside.This hut was put up by Robert Falcon Scott's team in 1902, during their Discovery Expedition. This hut was actually designed for the Australian Outback (so it's not very warm) and was used mostly as a storage space for Scott.
Discovery Hut located at Hut Point right outside of McMurdo
Robert Falcon Scott (image from BBC)
Scott was an Antarctic explorer who led his first expedition from 1901-1904 and his second from 1910-1913. During the second expedition Scott and his team were on a race to be the first to reach the South Pole. They finally got there only to find out that Amundsen and his team reached the Pole first. On their way back, Scott's team died from starvation and exhaustion, only 11 miles away from the next depot. They were found 8 months later in their tent, which was still standing. A "Scott Tent" is what I will be staying in during my time in the field.
A mummified seal that has been laying outside of the hut for over 100 years
The hut is now protected, but you can enter with a special permit, which we were very fortunately able to get. Because of the very cold and very dry climate here, everything inside has stayed completely preserved. There are cases of food stacked throughout the room, lots of animals that were never able to be eaten, some clothes hanging to dry, and a bed. Other than the odor of 100-year-old dead animals, the place is in great shape!
More seal and blubber by the front entrance

Storage and food containers

Scott brought both dogs and horses along on his expedition. The horses ended up being of little use on the Antarctic terrain.

Food that was never eaten
More carcasses

Today we had our final training, and will begin packaging up all of our food for the season this afternoon.
Also there is a town spelling bee tonight! Drew is competing.  I will let you all know how he performs.
We plan to fly out to our first field site on Thursday! Can't wait!
The view of McMurdo Sound from the front of Discovery Hut

-Natalie Robinson


  1. Look at those cuties on the snow mobile!

  2. This is my fave post so far. The pictures and story of the Discovery hut are SO COOL. I especially love this: "Other than the odor of 100-year-old dead animals, the place is in great shape!"
    Sound like you are doing just great so far. Can't wait for reports from the field!!!
    Proud of you,
    Ms. Cohen

  3. My favorite as well! So colorfully written.