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January 26, 2009

McMurdo Wrap-Up

Today brings my project’s chapter on the Ice to a close. I’ve been packing, shipping material home, and saying goodbyes. I depart McMurdo for Christchurch this afternoon, and in a couple days I’ll continue home to San Francisco where the artwork chapter of my project begins.

For my final post from McMurdo, I thought I’d post an assortment of photos taken throughout my stay that describes the polar community’s endearing humor, creativity, inventiveness, quirkiness, and inimitable character.


McMurdo is not without entertainment. There are radio programs, movie nights, DVD rentals, and an annual film festival. Less conventional pastimes include South Pole Station’s 300 Club and Scott Base’s Polar Plunge. Their printed announcements are great entertainment too.


Burning Man is so Northern Hemisphere.


Beware ye who enter the Waste Barn…


… or cross the footbridge between Crary and B-155. I must have crossed over a couple dozen times before noticing the lurking troll beneath.


The first polar bear has been spotted in Antarctica…


…and reports of an elephant at the South Pole are true.


Detail of a door in the carp shop, the building with the most character — and characters — in town. (The same building with the polar bear and gun-slinging penguin on its exterior.)


Michael Deany organizes MAAG, the McMurdo Alternative Art Gallery, an annual event inviting participation from the entire community. Submissions range from paintings to sculpture to installation art and live performances.


A sampling of MAAG art.


It took me a while to get this one. But of course… missile toe.


These prints are by David Craig, a young Massachusetts artist who overprints polar map and chart imagery to create textured, multilayered compositions. He’s working at McMurdo’s power station in saving toward art school. These pieces were my favorite in
the show.


Music is huge at McMurdo. Between Icestock, the Waste Barn Party (shown above), Gallagher’s Pub, Southern Exposure and the Coffee House, there’s always a guitar in hand.

Hmm… I’m missing this place even before I’ve left it.

Filed under: McMurdo — mbartalos @ 10:04 am


  1. Thank you for your wonderful blog entries. Catherine told me about your blog. I learned so much about Antarctica from your blog. I became acquainted with so many aspects of life at McMurdo, aspects that I never had imagined when Catherine first headed to Antarctica. You do a fantastic job. I will miss your blog. You write well, present specific examples of phenomenal stuff, and provide insight, history, and contemporary news, with topographical explanations of the land that she was experiencing, plus links to great details. Reading your blog as well as seeing the DVD “Encounters at the End of the World” while Catherine was down there, and seeing photos by Catherine, Tim, Chris, and yourself, made her experience come alive for me way up here in the northern hemisphere.

    Comment by Catherines mom — February 10, 2009 @ 6:47 pm

  2. Hi Catherine’s mom! Thanks so much for the kind words, I’m glad you enjoyed reading the posts as much as I enjoyed writing them. This truly is an amazing place, not least for its wonderful community of people. I feel fortunate to have met Catherine, Chris, and the many others I now call friends. I suspect our shared experiences in Antarctica will remain our most memorable.
    PS: I loved “Encounters at the End of the World” too, which our group gathered around the computer to watch at Lake Hoare the night of my January 13 post. (That’s Catherine in the top photograph by the way!)

    Comment by mbartalos — February 11, 2009 @ 12:01 am

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