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31 October, 1999

Christchurch New Zealand Sunday

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I was mistaken yesterday when I wrote that we expected to deploy today. I must confess that my days are a bit messed up! We are actually scheduled to deploy tomorrow, Monday!

Today we walked through the beautiful botanical gardens and toured the Canterbury Museum. Christchurch is considered a very English city. The street signs bear names such as Gloucester, Oxford, Armagh, and Hereford, the older buildings resemble those you would see in a small village in England, and the gardens are similar to what you would experience in the English countryside.

Even some of the paper money bears the likeness of Queen Elizabeth!

The Canterbury Museum is much like any museum in a U.S. city with the exception of extensive Maori exhibits and an Antarctic exhibit. The Maori exhibits show examples of Maori jewelry, food preparation, canoes, clothing, and weapons. The carvings are intricate and detail aspects of Maori life and religious beliefs. Maori jewelry is available for purchase in many shops in Christchurch. One of the most popular designs is the fish hook. These look like fish hooks but are carved from bone, wood, or greenstone and contain delicate carved designs on them. The fish hooks are attached to rope or chains and can be worn around the neck. They are thought to bring good luck!

Christchurch is called the "Gateway to Antarctica" because so many expeditions begin here. Even the explorers of old, sailed from these waters. The Antarctic exhibits display vehicles used for research on the ice, clothing required by the various nations that currently conduct research in Antarctica, and detailed major exploratory expeditions to the ice. Artifacts from Scott's "Discovery" 1901-1904 expedition, Shackleton's "Nimrod" 1907-1909 expedition, Amundsen's 1910-1912 "Fram" expedition, Scott's 1910-1912 expedition, and Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914, represent early Antarctic gear including a type of grass used for boot insulation, goggles with slits in the eyepieces for preventing snow blindness, and food rations. The exhibit only served to excite us more about our trip "South"! We were also quite thankful for modern technological advances in survival gear!

Answer to yesterday's question: Nathaniel B. Palmer (1799-1877) was a U.S. sea captain, usually of whaling vessels. In 1820, Palmer sailed south and claims to have been the first to see Antarctica. There is some debate over this as other seafarers also claimed to see the continent at about the same time. A U.S. research facility (Palmer Station), found on the Antarctic Peninsula, is named for this adventurer.

Today's Question: What is the significance of Amundsen's and Scott's 1910 expeditions?

My next entry should be from Antarctica!


JUST FOR KIDS!!!!! I made a mistake in my journal yesterday. I am not scheduled to fly to Antarctica until tomorrow, Monday! We get to spend one more day in Christchurch!

Today we went to a museum, the Canterbury Museum. There were displays of Maori clothes, jewelry, and weapons. Do you remember who the Maori people are? They are the people who first came to New Zealand.

Also at the museum were displays about Antarctica! Christchurch is called the "Gateway to Antarctica" because so many expeditions begin here. Even the explorers from the early 1900's began their journeys here. Some of the explorers are Ernest Shackleton, Raold Amundsen, and Robert F. Scott. The exhibits show some of the things they needed for their journeys such as the kinds of food that they ate and the types of clothing that they needed to stay warm. They used a kind of grass stuffed into their boots to keep their feet warm!

Answer to yesterday's question: Nathaniel B. Palmer was a famous U.S. sea captain. He sailed on ships that captured whales for meat, blubber, and whalebone. In 1820, he sailed very far south in search of whales and he claims to have been the first to see Antarctica. Some people disagree with his claim! Other sailors were also very far south in 1820 and also claim to be the first to see the continent! There is a research station named for Palmer in the Antarctic Peninsula. It is called Palmer Station and it is used by scientists from the United States.

Today's Question: In 1910, Raold Amundsen and Robert F. Scott set out on separate Antarctic expeditions. What were they hoping to do? Were they successful?

My next journal entry should be from Antarctica!


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