Well, actually, it wasn't strictly Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving is celebrated in McMurdo on Saturday rather on Thursday to give most of the station inhabitants two days off. It was a beautiful sunny day and there was an abundant spread of food for Thanksgiving dinner.
The day started with the (locally) famous "turkey trot", a 5K race/jog/trot leaving from the "Chapel of the Snows" overlooking McMurdo Sound.
This race brings out a diverse collection of individuals, all sporting their finest racing threads.
Temps were in the teens at race start, so their was some chill in the air. The green man later told me that running in his suit was fun, but after a while the fabric over his mouth frosted up making it hard to breath. He also said he couldn't see a thing when running into the sun. But fun was had by all.
It was a mass start at 10 AM.
And off they went, past Derelict Junction, through the dusty streets of McMurdo and beyond.
Thanksgiving Dinner is a big deal at McMurdo. The dining staff puts out quite an extravagant spread. In addition to Turkey and all the fixings there were King Crab legs and many side dishes. Overeating was easy to do.
Many McMurdo residents took the opportunity to take out their finer threads. Cowboy hats, coats and ties, dresses were all dusted off for the feast.
On Saturday nights and holidays wine is allowed in the galley with dinner. We took the opportunity to sample some of McMurdo Store's finest.
Mike Brown joined us for dinner. Mike has been thwarted in his attempt to join his field party in the Fosdick Mountains due to weather and flight availability issues. Mike had 7 failed attempts to leave McMurdo before he was able to fly out on Dec 1.
The signature Thanksgiving dessert dish--The Skua eclair. This is a chocolate mousse and caramel creme filled eclair fashioned into the shape of a skua--the local scavenger bird. Delicious. (Mark Fanning photo)
Mike Brown, Mark Fanning, and John Goodge on Hut Point, named for the hut the Scott Expedition built in 1902. Sea Ice of McMurdo Sound in the background.
Scott's hut. McMurdo Station in the background.
The "Ob Tube". This is a very cool observation tube set through the sea ice and into the water beneath. Visitors can climb down through the steel tube and into a observation platform beneath the ice. The ice here is about 10-12 feet thick.
The view of the Ob Tube looking up toward the entrance. (Mark Fanning photo)
The view of the sea ice from the Ob Tube. The bottom surface of the ice is composed of intricate web of crystals growing into the seawater. The green tint here is algae growing on the bottom of the sea ice. Thousands of small white-colored fish lay suspended below the ice and appeared to feed on the algae.
If lucky, there are seals and penguins swimming past.
On this night there were a couple of Weddell seals swimming about. (Mark Fanning photo)
A Weddell seal poking his head up in a hole in the ice near the Ob Tube.
The Weddell seal is a large seal and can get up to 10 feet in length and 800 pounds.