Robert Falcon Scott was the first to bring a ship down to McMurdo, naming the area where ships pull in now ‘Winter Quarter’s Bay’. Although C-17s fly in constantly starting in October, bringing in food and supplies, it’s the tanker and cargo ship that bring in the majority of ‘necessities’ to McMurdo.
In order to get down here, icebreakers must cut a channel from the Ross Sea. This year the Swedish Odin and USCG Polar Sea performed that duty. The Odin left by the time I got down here, but the Polar Sea was hosting two ‘moral cruises’ where they would take 200 people at a time. A lottery was done, and I luckily got to go on one of them.
It was a 3 hour cruise, which thankfully didn’t turn out like the S.S. Minnow. It was so nice to get out, away from McMurdo. In a few months I’ll be ‘Icebound’ once again. The surprise was the wildlife. I saw Waddell Seals, Minke whales, and even some Emperor penguins swimming in the water.
Unfortunately we had to return back. I felt a bit envious of the ‘Coasties’ who get to travel up to the North Pole.