National Geographic : 1956 Aug
146 Andrew H. Brown, National Geographic Staff Old Antarctic Hands Plant a Flag Atop Little America II "I am mayor of this place," jokes Admiral Byrd (left). The tip of a 70-foot radio mast in the background marks his 1928-30 base, buried by snows of three decades. Little America II, built in 1934 above the first camp on the Ross Ice Shelf, lies 40 feet below the surface. Dr. Paul A. Siple (laughing), Admiral Byrd's deputy, has accompanied the explorer on all five of his antarctic trips. He went on the first as a 19-year-old Eagle Scout. Other polar veterans (left to right): Maj. Murray Wiener, Air Force adviser to the Admiral, on his third trip with Byrd; Lt. Richard E. Byrd, Jr., on his second; and Edward representative, also on his second. over personnel, for Pole Station, an IGY assigned U. S. scientific outpost. The International Geophysical Year, from July, 1957, through December, 1958, is per haps the most important cooperative effort of scientists in the history of man. From it we are going to learn a great deal about this old world we've crawled around on for so long. In the single field of weather, for instance, the antarctic IGY stations will greatly enlarge our understanding of the basic circulation of the atmosphere, and thus improve long-range forecasting. Estimates of the money value of E. Goodale, an IGY shook free of the this knowledge to workers in construction, forestry, and, especially, agricul ture run into the billions. An increase of good will among peoples will be an almost inevitable byprod uct of some 40 nations working together in world wide collaboration. Typi cal of this spirit was the heart-warming reception that was given us in New Zealand. Six days after we sailed from Lyttelton we were crunching through the 400-mile-wide pack with helicopters scouting ahead. Glacier's skipper, Comdr. Eugene ("Pat") Maher, smiled approvingly as his burly ship slashed through four-foot-thick ice. We had reached the world of 24-hour daylight. Often we stayed up all night because there was no night. The sun was a giant lamp swinging in a circle around a blue ceil ing. Seals dotted the ice: a few fat, lazy Weddells, many slimmer, more agile crabeaters, and the occa sional voracious sea leop ard and rare Ross seal. Adelie penguins, Antarc tica's perennial welcoming committee, tobogganed on their stomachs across the ice to escape the onrush ing ship (page 158). On December 17 we pack and raced on across the open southern Ross Sea. Late that evening, through frost haze and wind-torn clouds, we had our first sight of Antarctica-the furrowed cone of Mount Ere bus, puffing a plume of steam and smoke (page 143). Very early the next day Glacier rested her scarred gray chin on the hard ice of McMurdo Sound. As the ship's engines fell silent, crew and passengers lined the rails, spellbound by the gleaming peak of Erebus and the blue gray icefalls cascading off Mount Bird.