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Home* Triplogs with photo galleriesAntarctic blog → Cape Evans – Febru­a­ry 27th, 2017

Cape Evans – Febru­a­ry 27th, 2017

During the night, we repo­si­ti­on across the McMur­do Sound to Ross Island, aiming for Cape Evans on the foot of Mount Ere­bus. This is whe­re Cap­tain Scott had his hut built during his final expe­di­ti­on, with the famous ship Ter­ra Nova.

The­re is not much to be seen of Mount Ere­bus today, its migh­ty sil­hou­et­te remains hid­den in the clouds today. The stiff sou­ther­ly bree­ze brings some­what mixed fee­lings, but at least the lan­ding site is on the nort­hern side of Cape Evans. Off­shore winds are always good for Zodiac lan­dings, or rather, at least not as bad as onshore winds.

It was a bit of an ope­ra­ti­on to get the Zodiacs rea­dy. We, the gui­de team, board the first boat with some scep­ti­cism, to have a look at ever­ything from water­le­vel. The beach as such is fine, the pen­in­su­la gives nice shel­ter from wind and waves from this direc­tion. Well, the beach is not the pro­blem. And we are cer­tain­ly wil­ling to accept the Zodiac ride, which is long, wet and very, very cold. But the tran­si­ti­on from the ship to the Zodiac is chal­len­ging in the­se con­di­ti­ons.

I obser­ve it for a while, and as the Cap­tain pro­mi­ses to use the ship to crea­te a shel­te­red posi­ti­on at the gang­way, I make a decisi­on: let’s go. Keep a good eye on wind and wea­ther and on the situa­ti­on at the gang­way, be rea­dy to abort the ope­ra­ti­on at any time, and not too many peop­le on shore at any one time, in case we need to get ever­y­bo­dy back to the ship in a hur­ry. All the­se thoughts and some more go through my head in such a moment.

Soon, the­re are things to be done. The magi­cal moment to open the door to Scott’s hut and enter the hal­lo­wed halls, whe­re every board in the wall, every cup on the cup­board and every glass on the labo­ra­to­ry table still brea­the the spi­rit of 1911.

Ice-encrus­ted yetis step out of the Zodiacs one by one. At the ent­ran­ce to the hut, ice and snow are remo­ved from clothes and sand and gra­vel from boots, and we have small groups ent­e­ring the hut, while others take a litt­le walk to the cross on Wind Vane Hill. The cross is a memo­ri­al for the three men of Shackleton’s Ross Sea par­ty who were lost during the 1914-17 expe­di­ti­on with Auro­ra. Then we have Zodiacs cir­cu­la­ting again, taking peop­le back to the ship, most of them pro­bab­ly rea­dy for a hot sho­wer and a hot cho­co­la­te, and brin­ging others here who are keen to make the pil­grimage to this famous place.

Mean­while, the ship is clo­ser to the shore, making the Zodiac ride con­si­der­ab­ly shor­ter, and the wind has lost some strength. Things are get­ting a bit more rela­xed, ever­ything is working well. Final­ly, we can lock the door again and lea­ve it all behind. After Tay­lor Val­ley yes­ter­day, with Cape Evans we have been suc­cess­ful with ano­t­her one of the big pla­ces in McMur­do Sound. (Click here for a vir­tu­al visit to Scott’s Ter­ra Nova hut at Cape Evans).

Gal­le­ry – Cape Evans – Febru­a­ry 27th, 2017

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

Cape Royds is just some miles north of Cape Evans, but I watch con­di­ti­ons during the short cros­sing the­re with mixed fee­lings. The lan­ding area is expo­sed to the south, into the wind. And as we are to see soon, the lan­ding bay is full with ice. The low clouds pre­vent any tought of using heli­co­p­ters to get us ashore. Today is not a day for Cape Royds, so we have to make do with a distant look at Shackleton’s Nim­rod-hut. (Click here for a 360 degree pan­ora­ma visit to Shackleton’s hut at Cape Royds).

But lea­ving from Cape Royds rela­tively ear­ly was to give us one of the most beau­ti­ful evenings of the who­le voya­ge. After a few hours we have reached the ice edge in the inner McMur­do Sound. The air is icy cold, but calm and clear. The evening light brings warm colours into the cold atmo­s­phe­re. The ice edge is stret­ching miles and miles towards the hori­zon, which is crow­ned by the migh­ty sil­hou­et­te of Mount Dis­co­very and, a bit to the right, the end­less chain of the Tran­s­ant­arc­tic Moun­tains. And in the water: orcas, orcas, orcas. Ever­y­whe­re near the ice edge lows, sus­pi­cious­ly wat­ched by small groups of Emperor and Ade­lie pen­gu­ins every here and the­re. And we are in the midd­le of this ama­zing sce­ne­ry. The evening will remain in our memo­ries as one of the true high­lights of this trip, as the who­le day.

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last modification: 2017-03-30 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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