Monday, October 18, 2010

Robert Scott's "Discovery Hut"

Greetings! Life in Antarctica continues to warm up, if ever so slowly. McMurdo Station is getting crowded. We now have nearly 900 people here and there are still another 350 yet to arrive. Last week, I went on a short hike to the Discovery Hut, which Robert Scott built during his "Discovery" expedition to Antarctica in 1902 ( Ten years later as part of his "Terra Nova" expedition, Scott died on his return journey from the South Pole and, once found, the bodies of him and his companions were kept at the hut until they could be shipped back to England. The cross on top of Obeservation Hill is dedicated to Scott and his men.

Discovery Hut with a partial view of McMurdo Station in the background
Plaque outside Discovery Hut

Historical marker inside the entryway of Discovery Hut
The photos below show that most of the goods in the hut have been preserved by the extreme cold, including oatmeal, dog biscuits, cocoa, and some other food and fuel stuff.

There was even a frozen bowl of cooked seal meat that had not been eaten yet. Mmm... (Have you ever eaten seal meat, Dad?)

Here's the room in the back where Scott and his men lit their fires to keep warm. You can see the ice crystals that have formed on the wooden walls and ceilings (bottom picture and upper right corner of top picture).

Discovery Hut is located on the tip of a peninsula northwest of station, providing a fantastic view of the sea ice and the hills of Ross Island.

Discovery Hut with McMurdo Station in the background center and Observation Hill in the background right

The hills of Ross Island

The frozen beaches of Ross Island; it even looks a bit like frozen waves are hitting the frozen sand.

A view of the sea ice to the north; come January, this will all be water.

This cross is dedicated to George Vince, one of Scott's men that died during the Discovery Expedition.

Close-up of the Vince cross

Behind me is Mt. Discovery and the expanse of sea ice between Ross Island and the Antarctic mainland.

The sun sets slowly over the sea ice with the Transantarctic Mountains in the background.
 A couple of other exciting things that happened last week include my seeing the first non-human living creature since I arrived here. The seal in the first photo was spotted laying in the sun beside a diving hole (surrounded by black flags) in the sea ice. The second photo shows one of the many weather balloons sent up into the atmostphere by the meteorological scientists here.

Only seven more days of sunsets! See you next week! :)


  1. wow...Bovril, digestive biscuits, Fry's chocolate. The Brits really did spread their fingers across the globe! Kinda crazy that these companies are still going 100 years later. Thanks for posting!

  2. Hi Joseph....... Great info! Thank you...
    About the seal.... Are the flags placed around the dive hole so know one falls in if they're out hiking? You look like you're nice and toasty warm... do you need to use tons of moisturizer on your face??
    Oh.... did the package arrive yet?
    Thanks again for keeping us in the Antarctic loop!

  3. Awesome pics and info! You look great and I love the thumbs up pic! Yay for Anartic adventures! xoxo

  4. Bette! Yes, the flags are placed around the dive holes to prevent people from accidentally stepping into them. I haven't used much moisturizer on my face, but I use LOTS on my hands, especially having to wear rubber janitor gloves all day. Larry and I got your package a couple of days ago! Thank you so much for the goodies! The chocolate-covered macadamia nuts are tasty. :)

  5. Cool stuff on the Scott Discovery Hut. You look great & glad you got to see a seal - reminds you the entire world up there is not dead, even though it might seem so at times! Janine