8 November, 1997

Today is the first day that I have actually seen Antarctica. We arrived by C141 around one o'clock in the afternoon after a five and a half hour trip from Christchurch, New Zealand. The weather at McMurdo Sound today is absolutely perfect. The temperature is about 20 F and the wind is not very strong. The sky is a pale blue which adds to the beauty of the landscape. The drive from the airport to the city itself makes me think of a watercolor picture in pale blues and white showing mountains, glaciers and a frozen sea.

The airport is about 3 miles from the city itself. The drive shows us the beauty of the mountains that surround the frozen ice of the sound. Looking to the left of the bus you can see the blue of the sky meeting the white mountains with the valleys of frozen ice running out to meet the already frozen Sound. Once we enter the area of the town which is built on a hill, the picture before me reminds me of an old mining town with the buildings heading in different directions and equipment laying around where it is the most useful. The city is set so that there is one major dining hall where all the people living there meet. The dorms are spread in a row for the most part but some people are housed in the dining hall and in several buildings away from the dorm. I lucked out and have been housed in the dorm closest to the Sound and have a view from the third floor which is outstanding. As you look at a clock, it is surprising to see that it is almost midnight and the sun is as bright now as it was at the time of our arrival.

The wait to get to McMurdo and the plane ride down allows for the opportunity to meet new people and find the interesting science that is going on all around this area. There are scientists here that are working on biology from diving huts to that found in rock that has been recovered from core in the layers beneath the sea ice. Scientists working on geophysics, such as the movement of the ice in the valleys or the movement of magma on Mt. Erabus or even the study on the magnetic field can be found mixed in with the people that build and maintain the equipment and the facilities of this unusual place.

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