Castle Rock

Inside the Apple With the cryostat (aka Theo) delivered, Team Princeton was eager to head out to the Long Duration Balloon facility (LDB) to take a look. But since we still didn’t have the rest of our cargo, there wasn’t a lot else to do. Lorenzo, Jamil, Johanna, and I took the opportunity to hike the Castle Rock loop, which is a long recreational hike out of McMurdo (It’s about 16 kilometres long and took us a little over 4 hours to complete.) This was a new experience for me, having previously only hiked Castle Rock late in the season, once we’re waiting to fly. [...]

Hut Point

Sasha Dance While half of the Spider team is now in Antarctica, almost none of our cargo is. This means we can’t do much useful work, and to pass the time we’ve been exploring. Out first trip was to Hut Point, named after the Discovery Hut constructed by Robert Falcon Scott in the early 20th century. (Somehow, I didn’t take a photograph of the hut itself.) The views were great, but the wind caused us to return to town without undertaking further exploration. [...]


Disembarking BIG NEWS: we finally landed in Antarctica! We were in Christchurch so long that the next wave of SPIDERers showed up. We had one day of overlap in New Zealand, then Ed, Anne, and I caught a C-17 flight the next morning. As soon as the plane dropped us off, it went back for the others (and some precious cargo). They arrived this morning. [...]

Kite Boarding

Ed controls the kite Yesterday we learned not to trust weather forecasts that say conditions are nice in McMurdo. Because they aren’t. By which I mean our flight was delayed again. Ed and I spent the day starting on Ed’s dream of learning to kite surf. We took the bus out to New Brighton and visited a kite sports and appliance store (the appliances are the money maker). For our introductory lesson (on land) we mostly learned to control the kite. We also spent a little time with a board, not entirely unlike a skateboard. We achieved small spurts of wind-powered motion! [...]


Upwards Due to terrible weather in McMurdo, our flight was delayed 24 hours. To pass the time, we took the bus towards Lyttleton, and walked over the Bridle Path. This is where early settlers crossed from the port towards Christchurch. [...]


At the Botanical Gardens Anne, Ed, and I have deployed as SPIDER’s first wave. Yesterday was our regularly-scheduled full day in Christchurch. This starts with a trip to the clothing distribution center (CDC) to get our extreme cold weather (ECW) clothing. Afterwards, we wandered around, explored Christchurch, and had some great food and drinks. Christchurch was devastated by an earthquake in early 2011, but repair and reconstruction has progressed remarkably. [...]

Gondola Party in Princeton

Team TorontoThe Toronto Spider team made a trip to Princeton at the beginning of April to put the gondola back together. While Theo had been a-salt-ed by the ocean during its pointless trip to New Zealand (not to Antarctica…thanks, US congress) the gondola survived the trip just fine. Most of the rust accumulation seems to have been in our heads, as there were more hiccups that usual getting everything together successfully. We were very lucky to arrive during the very brief magical time while the Princeton highbay transitions from freezing cold to hot and humid. For this trip, I was armed (photographically) with just my Nikon FM, a 50mm lens, and a roll of Superia 400. [...]

McMurdo 2012: In Review

Group photo Some of my favourite photos from the BLAST-Pol launch campaign. November 2012 to January 2013 in McMurdo Station, Antarctica. This is just a collection of previously-uploaded photos. Titles and captions may not all make sense without their original context. [...]

Palestine 2013: In Review

CSBF Some of my favourite photos from the Spider integration campaign. June to August 2013 in Palestine, TX. This is just a collection of previously-uploaded photos. Titles and captions may not all make sense without their original context. [...]

Wrapping Up

Midair cryostat With Theo warmed up, there was nothing left to do in the campaign but take everything apart and pack. There was a lot to disassemble, and even more to pack, but we had a large group of people who were all pretty motivated to finish. There were still a couple long days, not to mention exhausting hours inside the sauna of a sea container in the Texas sun. But that was no match for lightening hearts, and the simple pleasure of well-packed boxes. We even managed to relax a little in the last few days. Now, we’ve all gone our separate ways. But it won’t be long before we’re together again in Antarctica doing this all again—and more! [...]