Today I gave 3 tours in the Discovery Hut at Hut Point. It was very cold in there. It is hard to imagine how the Ross Sea Party members could live there for 2 month with the little equipment that was available to them, with the scurvy they endured during their long support sledge parties in 1915-16. We were all in our warm gear and were comfortably layered, but these men had only insufficient clothing, no heating and did not know if they would ever be rescued. Their achievements are not recognised enough and I hope I could make our students more aware that also others than Scott and Shackleton have endured hardships.
Discovery Hut 3 January 2016
This picture is from last year, this year there was much more in the hut. All the restored and preserved artefacts were back and the impressions were much more intense for me than last year. It was somewhat of familiar but also very new this year. I am really privileged with my second chance to see the hut.
I am at Scott base. We arrived at 18th December. The next day was our field training and a walk through the pressure ridges. It was fascinating as last year; all the formations of ice and the colours are amazing.
We had 7 nights in the filed. All went very well. We had a wonderful Christmas with Carol singing and good food and lots of fun and activities. The two days before Christmas we were at Castle Rock for the geology project and seal counting. Two groups were formed for that which swapped then. The weather was fine most of the time and it was very interesting again.
Wolfgang did his glaciology project with lots of snow pits digging. A small group went out with him and installed a radar.
The last day in camp was occupied with cross country skiing and down hill skiing. That was great fun.
Since yesterday lunchtime we are back at base and all the de-mob (cleaning and putting back our gear we had in the field) is done. The students are now assigned to jobs at Scott Base. The last few days here are full with projects, visits to McMurdo, lectures and lots of impressions.
My lecture on Polar History will be delivered at Friday. I have also time to teach social history at Discovery Hut. Three groups will be formed and I will stay for all three groups in the hut – from memory, this will require lots of hot drinks. It can be very cold there and it is unimaginable that the Ross Sea Party members (1915-1917) lived there for more then 2 month with only little supply. I had a little exercise with the students in the field on working with diaries. It went well and I was surprised that there was real interest. That will help when we see the huts and when I deliver the lecture.
This is one of the sledges which Hillary used in the 1950s. It is still working today ….
Tomorrow is another departure to the Antarctic. At 8:30am is reporting time at Antarctica NZ and I hope all goes to plan. Another PCAS course is going down and I am the History Tutor this year again. I hope the Discovery hut is furnished again (not like last year, when all was under conservation work) so that the students get a better idea of the conditions 100 years ago.
History lecture in the Discovery Hut, Dec. 2014; courtesy: James Stone
I will also deliver my lecture on Antarctic History at Scott Base.
The 21 quilts (see previous note) for the exhibition are also ready to go and I hope many people at Scott Base will see them and that also people from McMurdo will come along and have a look and maybe participate at the viewer’s choice.
I will post more at Scott Base and hope it will be that exciting than last year’s event.