Antarctica
Christchurch



Dawn broke early in Christchurch for me on Sunday. I awoke about 4am, and managed to roll over for another hour of sleep, before I got out of bed. The extra sleep helped to recover from the killer flight from Los Angles. Amazing how fast you can lose three days on that trip. I was in orientation on Thursday the 14th, took off that night, arrived in Christchurch on Saturday the 16th, and now it was already the 17th.

Antarctica is very much a large part of Christchurch. In addition to all the reminders at the airport (the Antarctic Centre, the large USAP hangers, etc.), there are plenty of reminders throughout town.

In the early 1900's, the British still considered it quite noble to die for science. Along the Avon River in Christchurch, across from the old town hall, is an imposing statue of Robert F. Scott.

The inscription in the bottom quotes one of his last diary entries

"I DO NOT REGRET THIS JOVRNEY WHICH SHOWS THAT ENGLISHMEN CAN ENDURE HARDSHIPS HELP ONE ANOTHER AND MEET DEATH WITH AS GREAT FORTITVDE AS EVER IN THE PAST"

Click on the photo for a larger view - Use your back button to return here.

The other plaques on the memorial:

      ROBERT FALCON SCOTT
           CAPTIAN ROYAL NAVY
WHO DIED  RETVRNING FROM THE  SOVTH POLE 1912
WITH A.E.WILSON H.R.BOWERS L.E.GOATES E.EVANS
I DO NOT REGRET THIS JOVRNEY WHICH SHOWS
THAT ENGLISHMEN CAN ENDURE HARDSHIPS HELP
ONE ANOTHER AND MEET DEATH WITH
AS GREAT FORTITVDE AS EVER IN THE PAST
                                       SCOTT'S DIARY

And the smaller one which points out that Scott's wife was the scuptor:


Roald Amunsen a Norwegian was the first person to reach the south pole, but he summed it up best when hearing of Scott's death 'for Scott has won'. Amunsen's successful trip was far overshadowed by the tragic loss of Scott and his team, and the poignant passages in his diary.

There are also reminders around town of Sir Ernest Shackleton's ill fated attempt at a Trans-Antarctic expedition, that resulted in the loss of the Endurance. Truly one of the all time notable survival stories.

A very brief account of the Endurance and some fantastic photos are at a Kodak web site. - Make sure you come back!

It becomes easy to see why those early years of exploring were know as the 'Heroic Age' of Antarctic exploration.

There was an interesting story in September carried by the Associated Press, when some of Scott's family put several items from the expedition up for sale. The British are still quite proud of the journey's.

There were not a lot of pressing things to do in Christchurch, the weather was still a little overcast, and cool, so I decided to a make a quick trip out to the airport.

The Air Force had brought down one of the brand new C-17 transport jets for a test run to the ice. It had made it's run on Friday before I arrived but it was on the ramp and I got a couple of quick pictures from the fence.

This was one of the newest C-17's, and is scheduled for another test flight in late November. The Air Force is planning on eliminating all the C141's by 2003, so the C17 is the replacement. The local paper The Antarctic Sun did a story on the test flights. It stated that it didn't hold as many people, so hopefully that means the seating will be a little more comfortable.

At one of the main round a bouts for the airport there is a totem pole, related to the Antarctic Program.

A few minutes on the computers at the CDC for email, and it was time to catch the bus back into town.

Monday being the bonus day in Christchurch called for yet another visit to the garden, before heading south. (And it was a great excuse to take lots of photos).

Sorry - the next part will take a while to load, but is worth it.

And of course it presented an excellent opportunity to get my shoes off and enjoy the grass. I won't be able to do that for a few months.

It was a great visit to Christchurch, we had a 4:45 show up time at the CDC. A short visit to Baileys (the pub the Americans hang out at), and off to bed.


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10/31/99

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