Polar Ice Quack

To the southern continent - Antarctica, and the South Pole

With Bob Evans

November 2001


 

I've heard of going south for the winter but this is ridiculous!

NOT Duck in Antarctica

NOT was given the chance to join Robert Evans, a co-worker of David Sherman's from NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) on a trip to the South Pole.

When you're small, cuddly and flightless, you make a lot of friends and get to go all over. But nothing prepared NOT for the chance to head south for the winter. Really south. As in about as far south as one duck, or man can go. During his travels he expected to someday visit 6 of the world's continents, but the 7th was to remain elusive. Little did he know that the chance would come. 

NOT Duck is a friend of Zim's. Zim works at NOAA with his friend Bob. Bob works with a network of scientific instruments that measure the thickness of the ozone layer. Now Bob was going to be going very south during the winter, which is the summer below the equator. And he graciously invited NOT to accompany him on his journey. So decked out in his new winter coat, NOT tagged along for the long journey. 


First stop - Christchurch, New Zealand. This is the staging area where the group will fly out to the continent of Antarctica. NOT is reminded of those who have come before, including  Robert Falcon Scott.
If a falcon could make it to the South Pole, so could a duck!

And he gets his orientation to ice safety at the International Antarctic Centre (IAC)


Then it's time to head for the Clothing Distribution Center to get the Extreme Cold Weather clothes. Luckily, NOT Duck is equipped with a feathery down and brought his own coat, so he didn't need to find equipment size XXXXXXXXXS for him.

So NOT slid into the collection of gear that is supposed to head out to McMurdo station.

At McMurdo, there's a memorial to Admiral Byrd. 

"Funny," thought NOT, "where are the feathers?"

Jumping the shuttle bus (or the Antarctic version of this), NOT headed over to check out what the Kiwi were up to at Scott Base.  He'd reached 77 degrees south latitude - only 13 degrees to go!

Then the next day, it's time to pile onto the LC-130 transport plan, and head further south. To the Pole. 


As Bob reports "Okay, I'm at the pole and guess what - it's cold." (Just in case you were wondering - check the weather conditions).

Why travel all this way without visiting the true south pole.  Little did NOT know that the south pole looks a lot like his neighbor's front yard in the winter, complete with reflection globe. However, this reflection globe reflects the array of international flags that surround the site, as well as the photographer and the expanses stretching off to the distant horizon. 

NOT Duck had gone as far south as he could. 


While there, NOT tried to be useful. 

First he helped with releasing balloons into the atmosphere, but almost got sucked up with it!

There were attempts to help Bob with the Dobson Ozone Spectraphotometer equipment to check ozone levels, but that just left NOT light-headed. 

He tried to help check out some of the solar equipment, but almost burned himself.

There's a reason the sign warns of danger with the laser!

To stay out of further trouble, NOT checked into the infirmary for a while. Besides a spot of warm tea after a time outside on the ice would feel so good on his beak.

Now, after successfully going south for (part of) the winter, NOT says he's never going to complain about the cold again. 


On the way back, it was a stop in Perth to check out the weather that the voyagers had left behind. It was definitely a lot warmer now! 

And just to make sure he was all warmed up, a stop in Hawaii gave NOT lots of time to contemplate Diamond Head. It's not made of Diamonds. And it looks nothing like a head...His brain must be still frozen.

 


Antarctica Travel    

Photos courtesy of Bob Evans of NOAA

Last Updated December 2001