Chilly Willie!  LbNA # 27939 (ARCHIVED)

Placed DateDec 31 2006
CountyOther International
LocationMcMurdo Station, Antarctica, INT
Found By
Last Found
Hike Distance?
Last EditedSep 19 2015

“The Chilly Willie Letterbox”
McMurdo Research Station, Antarctica

Placed by “Hello…from Joe”, his 2005-6 grade 5 class, and Tami Carsillo, with additional details and support provided by Holly and Jessica at McMurdo Station.

Greetings letterboxing adventurers! This letterboxing quest brings you to one of the most amazing and remote locations on earth… Antarctica! The idea for this letterbox evolved when my students began communicating by email with Tami Carsillo, a friend of mine, who was working at the research facility way down south. As the year went along, my students learned about the climate, wildlife, geography and history of the region from someone who was there. So… button up your overcoat, pack plenty of winter gear and hot chocolate and come on down! (On a serious note, if you are considering attempting this, the southernmost letterbox in the world, do your homework! Know what materials to bring.)

The station at McMurdo, located at 77 degrees 51 minutes S, 166 degrees 40 minutes E, is the largest in Antarctica. Its summer population is about 1,100. This research facility is built on the bare volcanic rock of Hut Point Peninsula on Ross Island, the solid ground farthest south that is accessible by ship. In fact, the nearest accessible city is Christ Church, New Zealand, about 8 hours away by plane. Speaking of planes, the main airport, Williams Field has ice runways and is about 16km from the center.

Throughout the year, research is performed at and near McMurdo in aeronomy and astrophysics, biology and medicine, geology and geophysics, glaciology and glacial geology, and ocean and climate systems. Participants of the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program are also working at sites near McMurdo Station.

The station was established in December 1955. It is the hub of the U.S. Antarctic Program, with a harbor, landing strips on sea ice and shelf ice, and a helicopter pad. Its 85 or so buildings range in size from a small radio shack to large, three-story structures. Repair facilities, dormitories, administrative buildings, a firehouse, power plant, water distillation plant, wharf, stores, clubs, warehouses, and the first class Crary Lab are linked by above-ground water, sewer, telephone, and power lines.

Now, because of international ecological policy and extreme climate, “Chilly Willie Penguin" is indoors, trying to keep warm! All you need to do is stop by the building known as the chalet. It is the National Science Foundation headquarters in Antarctica. From the back porch, the exact coordinates are: S 77° 50.886' and E 166° 40.139. Step into the office, greet the awesome staff and you will discover a treasure chest waiting for you! Please sign the guest book and also email me about your adventures.

While at McMurdo, why not visit the Admiral Byrd Memorial? In addition, Observation Hill, where some dormitories are located, offers a scenic view of the surrounding area. Nearby is also a hut constructed by British explorer Robert Falcon Scott during one of his journeys to the Pole in the early 1904, designed to store food and other supplies. The cold, dry air of the Antarctic tundra helps in preserving the hut and its contents, but New Zealand maintains the site today.

Many thanks go to my global travelling friend Tami Carsillo who has worked at McMurdo periodically over the past several years … and to the 2005-2006 5th grade class at GHR School in Coventry, CT for their research and communication with McMurdo. You’re all super!