I flew out to the US Coast Guard Polar Sea yesterday. That experience may be difficult to top. The guys with the red parkas and strange footwear were quite a novelty aboard ship. After all, these red parka visitors have been in Antarctica since October and they look like it. The crew of the Polar Sea (120 people) will be getting to town in the next couple of days after they get the channel cleared along with the Oden. Being underway on an icebreaking ship breaking ice in Antarctica was quite a thrill. The ship has three turbine engines producing 60,000 HP. Ice chunks the size of small buildings get blasted away in the prop wash. We continually saw a number of orcas, penguins, skuas,and seals. The crew was excited about all the wildlife and remarked that there was a lot more wildlife to see in Antarctica compared to the Arctic. I have a number of videos that show the power needed to break thru three meter thick (multi-year) ice. When our helo came we had to stop the ship, climb off onto the sea ice by ladder and climb aboard our running helo with our familar friendly pilot to take us back to town. It was a peak experience.

The picture of me with the thumbs up shows Mt. Terror in the background. I was thinking about its summit that I was on a few days ago. Looking closely at the picture off the bow of the ship you can see the Oden a couple miles ahead. The black mound of dirt to the left of the channel is McMurdo (observation hill is a distinctive landmark). The Polar Sea was about 5 miles from town.


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