Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ob Hill, Discovery Hut, and Helicopter Inspection

Yesterday, Dr. Hanson and I got to tour the helicopter facility here at McMurdo. We saw the New Zealand helicopter in the hangar and the AStar and Bell helicopters out on the pad. We evaluated the set up and arrangement of the helicopter for aeromedical evacuation.
Today, Air National Guard officers and I toured Scott's Discovery Hut at Hut Point.
SSgt McMannus was our official guide. This hut, erected in 1902 for Scott's Discovery Expedition, was originally designed and manufactured in Australia of Jakarta wood. The design worked well in hot dry Australia to keep the interior cool. That was not the best design for Antarctica. Later built huts were designed to retain heat inside.

According to Wikipedia:
"In selecting a base of operations for the 1910-1913 Expedition, Scott rejected the notion of re-occupying the hut he had built on Ross Island during the Discovery Expedition of 1901-1904.

This first hut, known as the 'Discovery Hut' was located at Hut Point, 20km south of Cape Evans. Scott's ship, the Discovery, had been trapped by sea ice at Hut Point, a problem he hoped to avoid by establishing his new base further north. Discovery Hut was never fully occupied during the Discovery Expedition, as most expeditioners elected to live aboard the ice bound ship. Ten years later when members of the Terra Nova Expedition journeyed south from Scott's Hut at Cape Evans they found Discovery Hut intact (although full of snow and ice), along with supplies left over from 1903. Discovery Hut was cleaned out and used during 1911 and 1912 as a staging and rendezvous point for Terra Nova expeditioners heading south towards the Pole from Scott's Hut at Cape Evans."

After visiting Discovery Hut, Maj. French, TSgt Green and I climbed Observation Hill (referred to generally as Ob Hill).

Again, from Wikipedia: "Robert Falcon Scott's party was found by a search party led by the surgeon Dr. Edward Atkinson. They were found dead by the members of the base camp, who took their photographic film, scientific specimens, and other materials. They had to leave Scott and his men in their tent, and later parties could not locate the campsite, since that area had been covered in snow. So Scott's party eventually ended up drifting out to sea as part of an iceberg as the ice shelf made its way to the sea.

The search party then returned to what is now known as McMurdo and climbed Observation Hill. There they erected a large wooden cross, inscribed the names of the fatal party and a short quote from the Alfred Tennyson poem "Ulysses", which reads "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

The photo below shows MacTown from the vantage point of Ob Hill.


Sierra said...

amazing! That is something I haven't done yet and will now go on the list of To DO

eyedoc said...

I can tell from what you are wearing that it is starting to warm up there. With that in mind, where is the obligatory picture of you standing on your head?!

bernie said...

Very cool seeing Scott's Discovery Hut.

Lisa J. said...

Hello from a Lynchburg lurker! I was curious as to what they white mesh thing was on the side of the helicopter. I am a flight nurse here in Lynchburg at MedFlight and I have never seen such.

Polar Doc said...

The white mesh thing on the side of the helicopter is a metal basket to hold additional cargo going out to the scientific field camps. They have nothing to do with medical evacuation. The primary use of the helos is to transport scientists and their equipment to field camps.