26 November, 2001
Nov 26th- The Best Sunday in Antarctica- Part Two
The Barnes Glacier was monstrous. The pictures from yesterday and today are of the terminus of the glacier. This is the end of the glacier. Glaciers are like moving rivers of ice. They are formed from years and years of snow being compacted into ice. These "rivers" slowly move down hill due to their own weight. Sometimes chunks of ice will calve (break) off of a glacier into the sea. These chunks of ice are then known as icebergs. There are icebergs in Antarctica that are the size of the state of Rhode Island!
The sea at the terminus of the Barnes Glacier is frozen. There are numerous cracks in the sea ice. Seals use these cracks to get up onto the ice. So far I have only seen seals from afar. I wonder if I'll get a chance to see one up close?
After visiting the glacier, we loaded back up into the Delta and drove to Cape Evans. In January of 1911 Captain Scott and his men built a hut there as a base for their South Polar expedition. This is known as the Terra Nova Hut. This hut was abandoned after the expedition. The surviving members of the team left tons of belongings there. These items still remain. The hut is now an official historic monument of Antarctica. Only twelve people are permitted to enter the hut at a time. This is done for preservation purposes.
Walking into the hut was like walking back in time. I couldn't believe that I was actually entering into the place where Captain Scott and his men once stayed. I have read many books about the expedition. To see the hut with my own eyes was an unbelievable privilege. I felt like I was walking into a sacred place.
The air inside the hut was musty with a slight burnt smell. The men used to use seal blubber for cooking and for heat. It was dim inside with only the light from the outside coming through the windows. There was an erie sense of quiet about the hut. It felt like the men were with us.
After we left the hut, we headed to the ice caves. There are two caves that are safe to enter. One of them requires you to squirm your way through a tight tunnel on your elbows. As you get out of the tunnel, you have to stay to the right because of a big drop on the left. This cave could only fit two people at a time.
The other cave was big. This one was easier to get into, but slippery none-the-less. A fellow TEA teacher, Jan French, broke her ankle in this cave about three weeks ago. She had to go back to New Zealand to have surgery. She is now back home in the States recuperating. Feel better Jan!
These caves were beautiful. The ice crystals inside were stunning. The ice appeared blue. It felt like a magical land!
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