Category Archives: Mactown/N.Z.

Tree Phone

Yes that is a working phone. It was nailed up along a lonesome road on Stewart Island, New Zealand. I visited NZ after my stint in Antarctica in 1997. It was great: beautiful, friendly, and easy to get around. I’d love to go back. Here’s what I wrote about Stewart Island:

“Feb. 26, 1997. Spent the night in Invercargill after a lovely train ride from Dunedin. The train passed by farms full of sheep, horse, cows, etc. When the train approached a group of sheep would dart away from the tracks causing all the other animals to follow suit……After a 20min. plane ride in what felt like a cardboard box with wings I am on Stewart Is. There are beautiful beaches and a real sense of an island community. Things are changing fast here, I wonder how long it will stay this way. Went for a hike and saw wild parakeets and other native birds but no Kiwis.”

Frozen Sea

A view of McMurdo Station, Antarctica taken sometime in 1996. For those who don’t know, I worked in Mactown for six month after graduating from college. It was a good experience although I’m not sure I’d do it again. I started out as a Dining-room Attendant (dish washer) and eventually was promoted to Baker’s Assistant (bread guy). The best things about being on the ice were the other people I was stuck there with and the trip to NZ afterwards. Here is what I wrote on my first day there:

“Oct 14, 1996. I made it! It has been a very long day. 4:30am got up and left for the airport, [Christchurch, NZ] put on cold weather gear and sat around. 9am got on a plane and sat around. 10am plane turns around due to mechanical problems, lands. Sat around some more. While uncomfortable the C-141 was an adventure, like being in a Tom Clancy book. It was a constant rush during landing, ice everywhere. The runway must have been 1.5 miles long. I stepped out on to the ice and see nothing but whiteness and mountains in the distance. We hopped on a bus a came into “town” which is really an ugly place – black dirt roads and a fuel smell everywhere. Ate a decent dinner and then was orientated.”

Waiting for Yellow-eyed Penguins

This was taken outside Oamaru, New Zealand in 1997. I was waiting in a bird blind for some Yellow-eyed Penguins to make their daily trek from the sea back to their nests. Here’s what I wrote in my journal at the time:

“Feb 23, 1997. I saw several Yellow Eyed Penguins. A couple popped out of the sea and waddled on to the beach where they climb the cliff to nest. A trail heads form the blind to the Little Blue Penguin colony. It was gorgeous, cliffs overlooking the ocean, truly magnificent… …The Little Blue Penguins nest on the cliff side; for $5 there are viewing stands and a guide explaining their life. There were perhaps 50 penguins in all, some coming up from the sea others waiting at the nest. Panic struck when a stray cat appeared, but I think he was more scared of the penguins than anything else.”