18 October, 1996

Tonight while we were working, Jim asked Gamini what was the most significant thing for him since arriving here. Gamini thought a moment and responded that he had the feeling like he was on another planet. That thought never struck me. I had an e-mail message from my daughter Lynn the other day, she reminded me of the song..."still we fall asleep under the same sky". I never feel far from home.

I got a message from some fourth grade students who wanted to know what it's like in Antarctica. Antarctica is a very large continent, bigger than the United States. McMurdo Station, where I live, is on the coast. The ocean around the continent is frozen. In the area where the divers are working the ice is about five feet thick. McMurdo is also at the edge of a large chain of mountains that are about 2000 miles long and divide the continent. When I look out I have a perfect view of the frozen sea ice and Mount Discovery. Most of the continent is covered with a sheet of ice that is over a mile thick. There are some dry valleys where there is no ice, not because it's warm, but because it's blocked by the mountain chain. There are no plants or animals that live on the continent. Penguins and seals have their young near the coast but they don't move inland because there would be nothing for them to eat.

Yesterday Gamini and I went to the hut Scott used during his expeditions between 1901 and 1904. Since there was no wood on the continent, the men used seal blubber for heating and cooking. At the entrance to the hut there was a skinned seal, perfectly preserved by the cold dry climate. We also climbed a hill that over looked McMurdo Sound. At the top of the hill there was a cross that Scott's crew erected in memory of him and the three others that did not survive the return from the South Pole. The legend is that it took the men two days to get the cross to the top of the hill.

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