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Monday, October 29, 2007: Last day in paradise, Visit to Le Pegasus
Our helo flights are scheduled for tomorrow morning, our bags have been packed and are at the terminal, and our divers are grounded because they'll be flying tomorrow, so we had a bit of a breather to get our personal gear together and do some more detailed planning for the New Harbor camp site.

We also got to explore a crashed resupply plane that's been lying on the sea ice for decades...


Mindy already picked up all of our food (more than 200 pounds! that's a lotta beef!) and we shipped a lot of our bulky items like tables, fuel spill kits, and hazardous materials (glues, lab chemicals) in the past few days, but all the dive equipment and both SCINIs will fly with us. The helicopter technician and pilot need to know exactly how much everything weighs, including us, so they can balance and fuel the aircraft.

The New Harbor field camp we're going to lies at the base of Taylor Valley in the Dry Valleys region, which will place us in an ASMA, or Antarctica Specially Managed Area. While all of Antarctica falls under United Nations treaty protection, some areas of particular scientific and environmental interest have additional visitation and procedural requirements. The Dry Valleys represent almost all of the ice-free, "dirty" land on the entire continent (2.0% of Antarctia is ice-free; the ice free parts of the Dry Valleys are 1.8% of the continent), and are one of the longest term stable environments on the planet. We've heard that despite extremely hard winds during the winter, there are still human foot prints from over 50 years ago. This Australian site has more information about the ASMA system, and this paper is an example of the kind of technology that might be used to reduce impact in the valleys.
photo: plane in the snow

In the afternoon we visited an old crashed plane on the sea ice. Back in the 1970's this plane, with 80 passengers onboard, passed it's Point of No Return on the way from Christchurch to McMurdo station, which means it didn't have enough fuel to turn back. The weather deteriorated rapidly and by the time it got down here it was Condition One and the air field was invisible. After several flyovers the pilot attempted a landing, but the wing caught a snow drift and spun the plane around. Everybody survived, but the search and rescue team couldn't find the plane for a long time because of the weather.

The plane is still in amazing condition all things considered, and has a nice texture of scratched in initials from over the years.

That's pretty much all for now, we should have lots more to write about when we get to New Harbor, and we should have some form of internet access to post updates from, so check back again soon!


Hi my name is Ruben Esparza. I'm from SOS and I would like to know more about the air plane crash site. If there is anyway I could know more about it that would be great for me! Thank you.

Do you mean Squadron Officer School? I don't know all the details but if you send your email address to bnewbold at "ehm eye tee" dot edu I can try to find out more...

The basic story that I know is second hand from people who have been around McMurdo station longer than I. You can find a lot more photos at; there is a set of historical photos from the crash back when it happened, i'll try to find some of those for you?

Hi Ruben,
You can get more information on the Pegasus crash at

It's an amazing story!
Smiles, stacy

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This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. ANT-0619622 ( Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.