Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Still Day Six: Tuesday 6 December

When we went into the labs at McMurdo, Paul bumped into some people he knew and one of them, Caroline, offered to take us downstairs to the wet lab and touch tank, full of sea stars and sea anemones and other graceful, colourful and beautiful sea creatures. Look at these - (this water was freezing, I had to warm up my hands in my gloves afterwards)

We were so late getting back that lunch morphed into afternoon tea, at which I’d arranged to meet Lizzie who was going to show me the work she and the other conservators are doing on the contents of the TAE Hut .More on that hut later! And then Trudie tracked me down to say that Tim Naish, one of the scientists on the hot water drilling project, had some very cool fossils if I wanted to see them – so here they are. Leaf fossils and bits of wood from 15 million years ago, when small beech trees grew in the Dry Valleys.

And the day still wasn’t over, because after dinner at about 8pm, Kat offered to take us out for a walk in the pressure ridges (more on them later!) just in front of Scott Base. So much snow had fallen that Kat took a pole to probe the path between the flags -

But we made it round to the spot where you can see the seals – fat black blobs contentedly lolling on the ice.

As as we stood marvelling at the weird and wonderful ice shapes -

we heard a puffing and snorting and saw the tip of a seal’s nose emerging as it came up through one of the breathing holes. What a magic way to end the day.

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