On February 3rd, 2017 the four Webb Cadets awoke to an awesome view; McMurdo Station in all its glory laid out in front of us. The morning was dedicated to docking, which entailed firing rockets towards the shore so that volunteers could pull the mooring lines out from the ship and secure them ashore. The Captain had to keep the Peary rocking back and forth throughout the entirety of the process to break up the ice surrounding the ship. Once the ship was secured, we enjoyed a quick lunch and then stormed off the ship in a hurry to explore the ice-continent that lay before us!
The first day was spent exploring the station. We hiked up Observation Hill, a staple hike for any one in Antarctica to complete! After wandering through some of the buildings, we went to the dining hall where we were able to feast in a cafeteria full of food. The people are all super friendly and most were excited and interested to hear about our journey to Antarctica by ship. We made a great many friends throughout our few days there.
In the afternoons the pubs were the best place to socialize and learn about all the unique jobs people have. The first day was great because we were totally free to explore. That night we found a quaint little church called the Chapel of the Snows to spend the evening when everything had closed up. Every time we exited a building was strange because it was still very bright outside, with the sun being up 24/7.
The following days we had to give tours throughout the day, which meant we had to split into groups of two. The tours were great opportunities for us to demonstrate all that we had learned about the ship since our first day, not so long ago, to some very interested people. The tours were also great opportunities for us to meet some amazing people, who were interested in repaying our tour with a unique experience of our own. One of these such experiences lead to our introduction to the South Pole Traverse team. They enjoyed our tour so much that they offered to give us a tour of their equipment as well! This resulted in the four of us getting to drive the tractors that they use to travel down to the South Pole!