Good for morale
Sometimes you get a lucky break with a boondoggle while you're down on the ice. As my luck would have it, I'm here in McMurdo during a rare offering of "morale cruises" on the US Coast Guard ice breaker, the Polar Sea.
Now that the ship finished its work of cutting a roughly 20 mile long channel through the sea ice for the resupply vessel and fuel tanker to use next week, it can offer a day of these little pleasure cruises to folks down here as a little perk to boost morale after a busy season, or as in my case, to pump you up for the winter.
There were 2 trips, each taking 200 people and lasting for about 3 hours. We sailed back out the channel and as McMurdo grew smaller and smaller from the stern, we began to see more and more wildlife.
McMurdo Station from the water with Ob Hill on the right.
Seals hauled out on the ice.
There are two little Adelie penguins in the center of this photo. Really.
Minke whales were often nearby, including one that was so close I could swear we ran over it with the boat.
View of floating chunks of sea ice through a port hole in the bow.
Edge of the channel through the sea ice.
Looking for whales from the bow.
The Royal Society range.
Since it turns out that I'll be stuck in McMurdo for the rest of this week due to a lack of bed space at Pole, hopefully I'll have more opportunities to explore. By the way, does anyone know of a doctor who would like to work with me at South Pole? We seem to be short one...