Robert Leaves the Pole, Finally!

By Robert Zill (Undergraduate DuPage and NIU)

Back in McMurdo, we finished up the final tasks we had with the troubled tube of the neutron monitor and then we got one more exploration opportunity. We were able to visit Discovery Hut which is a structure just a short walk from “downtown” McMurdo that was built in 1902 as a rest stop of sorts for early Antarctic explorers. They take the preservation of original artifacts very seriously and so you are not allowed to touch anything. No, not even the rotting seals that have been in there for decades! Once you got over the smell though, it was very interesting to have a look around. There were old crates that had Scott’s name on them. He was one of the early explorers in Antarctica and leader of the second group to reach the South Pole. There were pans on the kitchen stove with bits of seal meat still in them and there were places where they had started to rip the ceiling down to use for firewood. It was a veryintriguing and very well preserved site to see.

Supply crate for Scott's 1910 expedition
Supply crate for Scott’s 1910 expedition

Well, here we are, waiting a few more hours for our flight to take us back to New Zealand. It has been an intense experience down here, but I am also happy to be leaving as well. Spending a month in New Zealand is scary and exciting at the same time, but I look forward to seeing what the country has to offer me. I’ve met many people down here who are also spending time in NZ and a few of us many hopefully cross paths at some point. I will most definitely never forget my time here on the ice and I can’t wait to get home and brag about all these adventures and more!