TEA Banner
TEA Navbar

5 January, 2003


In some ways Antarctica starves the senses. At first glance it is devoid of bright colors except for our coats and tents. Taking pictures is hard because the camera gets fooled by the lack of color, and it sometimes grays everything out. If you are a good observer you will find color in surprising places. The rocks of the Dry Valleys have vivid pinks and oranges, and deep purples, but you have to look carefully. The streams produce algae in reds, oranges, blacks and greens, but again, a cursory glance will miss it. The ice of the lakes and glaciers produce a turquoise blue like none other I've ever seen.

Distances are really hard to judge because the atmosphere is so clean. The air is crisp and clear, but there are no odors to speak of except icky ones--like the latrine or rotten food waste buckets! Tents have their own smells--my nylon mountain tent at home base (F6) sometimes smells earthy from all the rocks and dirt my boots drag in, while my Scott tent at Lake Hoare where we go on weekends for showers, smells like canvas. It's amazing that without showers the people don't smell bad - or maybe we are all just in the same boat and don't notice anymore!

Sounds are also lacking. You can hear the wind in your tent and the water in the streams running and rushing over rocks. The solar panels sometimes squeak in the wind and an occasional helicopter flies overhead or roars in for a landing. People's boots scrunch the rocks as they walk past your tent, and sometimes you hear your team's voices in the distance, or someone snoring in their tent, but often it is just QUIET. The lack of "white noise" from traffic, airplanes, and people is very different than back home, but I love the solitude.

1. Our clothing is colorful against the drabber

colors of the scenery, but those colors also serve an important purpose. If we ever needed to be rescued, they would help us stand out from the landscape! This is me holding the reflecting glass. Jen is using the Total Station to measure the distance and elevation as we survey the stream gage site. I'm standing on the sandbags over the middle of the stream.

2. Erin is labeling bags and bottles to collect algae

samples. She and "Theo", the surveying instrument, are colorful against the Canada Stream.

3. That's me with Theo and the Canada Glacier in the background. It may not be colorful in one sense, but isn't it beautiful!

4. Here I am with a "sense" of relaxation! This rock

was formed as a perfect recliner and ottoman, and I couldn't resist a break as we worked today. It was actually very comfortable. (and no, Hunter. You can't have it for your room!)

Contact the TEA in the field at .
If you cannot connect through your browser, copy the TEA's e-mail address in the "To:" line of your favorite e-mail package.