Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Occasionally we see a place that is really cool. No pun intended. We visited the International Antarctic Centre on one of our first days here in Christchurch and we were not disappointed. This attraction is here because the NZ, US and Italian Antarctic research teams are based here.
We were picked up by the Penguin Express at Cathedral Square and the driver told us funny stories about Christchurch. We then watched a video put on by the staff, including bloopers, as to what we could expect to see. Upon arrival, there was something for all of us: we got to see Blue Penguins on the mend after being rescued. There was a simulation of an Antarctic winter storm which included wind and a drop in temperatures to about two below zero fahrenheit. I didn't tell them that Cincinnati has that temperature every winter and especially this one. Probably would be outdone by Canadians anyway. There was an exhibit depicting the four seasons there.
The center had a lot of interactive displays where one could see the daily life that goes on at Scott Base on Antarctica. I really enjoyed that and felt a bit closer to understanding how a person could devote six months of their life at a timeto this icy continent. They even had the rules for the Scott base golf "course"...if it could be called that. Once in a lifetime would be cool (cold). The staff at the center all said they would love to go. Some of the displays had geeky things like temps, wind speed, when explorations were completed and the like which suited my geeky side. lisa asks "does Marty have a non-geeky side??? The girls also learned a lot in case any future teachers of theirs are reading this blog post.
Near the end we rode in a Haaglund, the big tracked vehicles used in Antarctica, around their training track. Everyone who is scheduled to go to Antarctica must experience Haaglund training - up 45 degree hills, 30 degree sidehills and how to go through water up to the middle of ther windows. Great!!
An interesting, educational and fun day was had by all.