The inside of the plane is designed for cargo hauling not people hauling! It was a 5 hour flight for the roughly 2300 miles to McMurdo staion.
We rode on a Delta 2 (meaning 2 axle version http://www.foremost.ca/index_delta.php) from the runway built on sea ice back to McMurdo Station, which was pretty cool, if not the least efficient way to move people around.
On the way to McMurdo Station we saw some penguins, my appologies for the horrible picture but we were very far away and our taxi driver would not stop for us to get out and take pictures. I will get some real pictures of the wildlife for sure, and soon!
At this point we had to get our baggage, linnens, find our rooms ,etc. Once this was done I decided to climb Observation Hill which gave me a good view of McMurdo Station and the Ross Island wind farm. Atop the hill was a cross erected by the party which found Robert Falcon Scott's remains after he reached the South Pole only to find that he had been beaten by 35 days by Roald Amundsen.
The inscription on the plack next to the cross reads, "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." -Tennyson from Ulysses
Obviously there is a massive amount of history surrounding the early Antarctic expeditions and I would recommend to everyone in any walk of life to read any account of Sir Ernest Shackelton's attempted journey of crossing the continent which resulted in one of the greatest survival efforts ever undertaken.
So part of the purpose of my trip was to evaluate the operation of the new Ross Island Wind Farm and to finalize the comissioning testing of the wind farm. Below are the three 330kw peak output Enercon E-33 turbines which are located between McMurdo Station and Scott Base. The installation of these turbines was funded mostly be the New Zealand goverment with the National Science Foundation partially funding the project but now McMurdo Station supplies the main electrical power to Scott Base (the NZ base) and McMurdo. Thus Scott Base does not run it's diesel generators except for peak loads on the grid and the energy from the wind farm goes to both McMurdo and Scott. Much more on this in the next installation.
It was late at this point so I snapped a few more pictures then went to bed.
I will put more pictures in a Photobucket account since the quality of these pictures is obviously horrible. you should be able to reach the pictures at http://s814.photobucket.com/albums/zz65/oroberts/Antarctica/ which should take you to a slideshow.
There is lots of fun geeky engineering stuff to come, as well as more pictures of animals and the landscape so I will try to ballance it out. Much more to come on the wind farm and how this whole place works!
Thanks for reading!