Well, the planes have started flying, and I've got a couple hundred more new neighbors now. Mactown is starting to fill up as the McMurdo Mainbody season begins. That means our little 300+ community grew to 500+ and by the end of next week, will be 1000+, and the Antarctic summer season has begun! It's starting to get crowded!
This means I get to adjust, and accept the fact that soon, I will have to share my room with 2 more people. That's four total girls in one little space! Oy vey!
Roommate Whitney and I (mostly Whitney, because she is strong! And motivated! And not lazy, like me!) took down our bunked beds and made little partitions in our room, so we have little mini-rooms in the "larger" room. I kind of feel like I'm living in a tenement, because there are sheets hanging everywhere, and I suddenly have no space. But it's kind of cool, in that the bed I'm in actually can be made to be very high off the ground. So high, in fact, that I've decided that instead of using it for storage, I think I am going to use it for a fort! My friends agree! I am going to put in a disco ball and pirate flag, so if you want to send me things for my fort, I would be very happy!
Below is a picture of some of my friends under my bed, I mean, in my fort, last night.
It's been a great week! New friends flying in every day, a fort under my bed, guess what? This freakin' FNGee got to see some Emperor penguins on Sunday, and that pretty much kicks ass. Contrary to popular belief, we don't get to see penguins every day here. There are a lot of people here who have never seen the Emperors, so I count myself lucky! Our tour guide told us she had been out do this tour 40 times, and had never seen Emperors. Here's my little adventure in pictures...
Set out Sunday in the Deltas to go out to Cape Evans, and the hut, Terra Nova, where Scott based his expedition to the South Pole. (Long story short, he made it there, found he was beat by the Norwegians, didn't make it back). The Deltas are cool, and another awesome Antarctica vehicle I've been privileged to ride in while I've been here.
The day was as cold and crazy as I've personally seen it here. We drove 2 hours out on the sea ice, and it was so windy I could put my full weight against the wind and keep standing straight up! Ice cold! Crazy! It was the first time I even got a whiff of what Antarctica could be all about. Here's a picture of me blowing away!
On the way there, we were amazed to see some very special guests. They looked cold! But very cute! I am geeking out, but I just can't get over seeing these guys in their natural environment. It just blows my mind that moving around out in that crazy weather is their life. They were just trucking along, then they would get in a circle and stand around, wave their little flippers, and then one would just start walking again. So awesome. I want to name them all, but I will refrain. (Thanks to my friend Tyler for two of these pictures. The good ones.)
So between the Delta ride and the penguins, my day was made! But we weren't even to our destination yet...
Above is Terra Nova, snowed in. This hut was built in the early 1900s. We can only use flashlights inside, and can't touch anything. The cold has preserved it so well, that the food these guys brought down is still sitting there. It's weird to see Heinz products and other familiar brands in old-fashioned packaging, but looking like they were purchased yesterday. That's the deep freeze for you. I didn't get lots of photos, because it was almost pitch black, and the camera has trouble focusing in the dark. But here's one of the inside from friend Talie.
The scientists and explorers were doing penguin research as well. The little guy below gave his life to research a century ago. Still looks pretty good!
I told you that it was freaking cold outside! Here's me in my ECW (Extreme Cold Weather) gear. Don't I look cold! I was!
Here are some friends huddled behind a snow/ice bank to stay out of the wind!
Anyway, it was a great day. My real dream of seeing penguins is now complete, although I hear there is a friendly seal named Lester that might pop up from time to time... stay tuned.