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Features - Life on the Ice
A friendly competition brings Antarcticans from neighboring bases closer together for fun and games at the Governor General's Cup.
Like clockwork in late November, the residents of McMurdo Station look to the sky and spot something that many haven't seen in months - birds. The arrival of these feathered creatures is greeted by many with curiosity and anticipation, but also with some suspicion.
The U.S. Antarctic Program brings people of all faiths and religious backgrounds together to support science at the bottom of the world. Situated at the end of town, McMurdo Station's small, blue and white Chapel of the Snows stands out against the comparatively drab shipping container-like structures surrounding it.
Secretary of State John Kerry visited McMurdo Station on November 11, 2016, becoming the first Secretary of state to travel to Antarctica, and the most senior U.S. government official to do so. The purpose of the trip was for Kerry to meet with polar researchers studying a wide range of topics supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), many of which related to the global implications of climate change.
Brisk winds blew through a bundled-up crowd, as they collectively bobbed their heads and swayed along to live music. The musicians played below large blue cutout letters that spelled out "ICESTOCK," McMurdo Station's annual New Year's celebration and the world's southernmost outdoor music festival.
It was no ordinary heavy equipment safety lecture. On a windy Sunday afternoon, a crowd of McMurdo residents gathered at the at the cargo storage area above town to watch McMurdo Station's first annual "Safety Rodeo." Two teams from Fleet Ops competed against each other, driving IT-28 Caterpillar loaders through an obstacle course while a crowd sitting in the grandstands cheered them on.
For one afternoon in December, McMurdo's dining hall was transformed into a small bazaar of handmade wares. At the annual December Craft Fair, station residents gathered to display and swap the arts and crafts projects they've been working on during their off-hours.