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Wednesday, November 14, 2007: Better Things to do...
When it comes to posting a blog, as far as I know I am the furthest behind of any member of our team. This post was suppose to be up on the 16th and it is now the 21st. Makes me kinda proud, actually. I have no excuse, but I might have an explanation...


I'm in Antarctica. "When I grow up I'm gonna..." We all had a list. Visiting this continent was the only thing remaining on my childhood list that I had not done. I did not come here to sit at a computer and write a blog. But it is an amazing place and deserves a chronicle.
Right now I am upstairs in the Crary Lab Library, looking out across the Ross Sea at some islands that are about 50 miles away. That is about the equivalent of sitting on the steps of the White House in Washington DC and seeing Baltimore. The air is incredibly clean, and you really can see forever.
And the view will stop you dead in your tracks. Mount Discovery and the Royal Society Range rise right up off the flat white McMurdo Ice Shelf and poke right through the clouds. Mount Discovery looks like a big pile of vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup running all over it.
My favorite is the gleamingly metallic Royal Society Range. All shiny and cold looking, they could be "The Saw of the Gods" if they were not named by some scientist desperate for funding and/or recognition.
The mountains are almost always wreathed in clouds but when the weather clears behind them the blue backdrop makes them leap out at you and completely fill the horizon. I came expecting to be awed by Mount Erebus (and I was), but I've fallen in love with the shy mountains across the sea. I look for them maybe 30 times a day, and my main photographic goal for the rest of the trip is to remember my camera and get a picture when they next burst out into the sun.
Right now Discovery is hidden in clouds, with just her feet showing. The Royals have clouds atop them but the valleys are seeing sunshine through some gaps in the cloud cover. The Blue Glacier rolls down out of the mountains and is yellow-orange in the sunlight, shining like a wet road where it meets the sea ice. Higher up the light glints unevenly off the scattered ice surfaces. 50 miles away and it looks like you could walk across the ice in a couple hours.

The southwestern Royal Society Range as seen from the Library. The shining Blue Glacier can be seen at right below the boiling clouds.

PS... I am a passionate Newcastle United fan, and follow the team however I can and from where ever I have to. The best site for all things Toon is nufc. They have been compiling a list of countries from which Magpie fans access their site, and were up to 171 until I weighed in from McMurdo. They have recognized Antarctica as a full-fledged country, listing it between Anguilla and Antigua y Barbuda.
Passport information for the newly recognized nation to follow as soon as someone can be found to take on the job of King, Queen, President, Prime Minister, or Chief Headhunter.

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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.