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January 19, 2009

Scott Base

Scott Base is New Zealand’s research station here on Ross Island. It’s just a couple of miles down the road from McMurdo. Once a week, the base hosts “American Night,” inviting McMurdo residents for a visit and a beer. I hopped a shuttle van and checked it out.

Scott is compact, quiet, tidy, and very green in color. The buildings are green, the pipes are green, the fuel tanks, storage huts and bins are green. Even the milvans are green. Some find it pleasant; others don’t. An American visitor commented that the Kiwis had been played a cruel joke upon, a joke they didn’t get.

I disagreed, but it got me wondering about the reason for the color. My first guess was that it was inspired by New Zealand’s iconic parrots seen on the sign in the top photo.

My second guess was that it represents greenness in the environmental sense. This occurred to me on seeing several recycling bins indoors.

I was wrong on both counts. A quick search led to an interesting Scott Base FAQ where the answer — or at least the mythology — behind the color is revealed.

As well as its name. You gotta love a hue called ‘Chelsea cucumber.’

Filed under: Antarctic Research Facilities,Antarctica — mbartalos @ 11:33 pm


  1. Mike,
    Edel Rodriguez blogged about you and “The Long View” today at drawger. This is so impressive. I’ve just read through your entries and it has me feeling inspired about making art obviously, but perhaps more so, making my hometown better at recycling. They do a pretty good job but they/we can always improve.

    I can’t wait to see what you do with all your newfound inspiration.
    Enjoy the rest of your stay.

    “Chelsea Cucumber”… I think I once dated a woman by that name!

    Comment by Rob Dunlavey — January 24, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

  2. Thanks for the comment Rob, I’m hoping the blog and project make people think harder about recycling — and art!

    Comment by mbartalos — January 24, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

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