Jan's Antarctica Adventure 2007-8 travel blog

The excavated entrance into Mawson's Hut (from inside)

The hut had two main rooms - this is the main room...

Frank Hurley's darkroom

We had hoped to land at Port Martin today or at least a zodiac cruise, but the weather prevented this happening unfortunately. Katabatic winds which come straight down from the polar plateau were blowing up to 40 knots which made any type of zodiac experience impossible. 40 knot winds are nothing in Antarctica, but as far as I was concerned they were cold enough. It was blowing that hard that the spray was flying off the water and took on a rainbow effect. While the outside temperature was zero degrees, the winds brought the temp down to around minus fifteen. Most unpleasant. I was left wondering how on earth the early explorers trekked through this type of weather to unknown destinations, sometimes in near whiteout conditions. With a landing impossible, the Captain turned the ship north and now we are heading back to Macquarie Island and hopefully this time a landing. We are due to arrive at Macquarie Island on Sunday.

In the afternoon I attended a lecture on Mawson's Hut given by Alasdair McGregor, who has spent time on the preservation program over the past ten years. Mawson's Hut represented the first building on the Antarctic Continent. It is quite rare as historic buildings go because it isn't really that old (less than 100 years). It was interesting that the building is not being restored, rather preserved. It is amazing looking at the photos from ten years ago to see how much work has been done, given the very small window of opportunity during the Antarctic summer, and the funding which seems to be available. If you are interested in further reading on Mawson's Hut, Alasdair has written a book on his time there. It is an easy read and intertwines historical facts with a description of the preservation efforts.

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