Christchurch in Spring

Christchurch, New Zealand (known here as “Cheech,” the rough pronunciation of its airport abbreviation, CHC) has long been the launching point for Antarctic expeditions. It is from here the United States Antarctic Program launches flights to McMurdo Station. Christchurch is also where those who have worked the summer and who will soon be spending the winter go for a week of rest and relaxation prior to winter. Spending the winter in Antarctica is known as wintering and those who are wintering are known as winter-overs.

As my thoughts are now turning toward Christchurch and eventually home to thaw these winter bones (summer bones?), I thought I’d thrill you all with photos of Christchurch and the Botanic Gardens, taken in October, 2009 which was springtime here in the southern hemisphere. I reckon my readers in the northern hemisphere would appreciate some springtime goodness as well.

Cathedral Square is the central business district of Christchurch.

Chess in Downtown Christchurch.

Chess in downtown Christchurch.

Church in Downtown Christchurch.

Church in Christchurch.

Cathedral Square features an 18m (59ft.) sculpture commemorating the new millennium. The leaf patterns of 42 native plant species are depicted.

Leaf Sculpture in Christchurch.

Leaf Sculpture in Cathedral Square, Christchurch.

Founded in 1863, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens are located along the Avon River, just outside the central part of Christchurch.

Avon River.

Avon River.

Site of original hatchery where first brown trout ova arrived in New Zealand, Septmeber, 1867.

Site of original hatchery where first brown trout ova arrived in New Zealand, Septmeber, 1867.


Calla lilies.

On the other side of town from the Botanic Gardens is the firehouse:

…and 9/11 memorial:

9/11 Memorial, Christchurch.

9/11 Memorial, Christchurch.

On the road from Cathedral Square to the Botanic Gardens is a statue of Captain Robert Falcon Scott. It is one of two sculptures of Scott sculpted by his wife, Kathleen Bruce, after his death.

Captain Robert F. Scott. Sculpted by his wife, Kathleen Bruce after his death.

Captain Robert F. Scott. Sculpted by his wife, Kathleen Bruce after his death.

Kathleen Bruce created this sculpture after learning of her husband’s death. Captain Scott and his men reached the South Pole on Jan. 17, 1912, one month after Roald Amundsen of Norway and his men became the first to reach the pole. While Amundsen and his men all returned safely, all five members of Scott’s party died on the way back from the pole. Seaman Edgar Evans died at the foot of the Beardmore Glacier, Captain L.E.G. Oates, realizing he was a drain on his comrades, walked to his death in a blizzard. Scott wrote that as Oates left the tent, he told the remaining members of the party, “I am just going outside and may be some time.” He was never seen again.

Captain Scott’s body was found on November 12, 1912 in a tent with the two remaining members of his party, Doctor Edward A. Wilson and Lieutenant Henry R. Bowers. Evidence suggests Captain Scott was the last to die, at age 43. They remain in that tent, somewhere on the ice barrier of the Ross Ice Shelf, long ago drifted over with snow, slowly drifting toward the sea.

8 comments to Christchurch in Spring

  • Kristen Kessel Ellison

    Excellent photos as always, and I really appreciate the ode to springtime. I am so ready for warmer weather here. We are already enjoying longer days – when I wake up and when I leave work, it’s light out now!

    Oh those white flowers in front of the stone bridge are actually calla lilies not irises. I only know that because calla lilies are my favorite. :-)

    I guess we’ll see you soon. This month???

  • Mom

    I hear you’ll be coming home soon…can’t wait to see you. Just saw Sue over the weekend and she said it won’t be long now – 3 1/2 weeks or so? YES!!!! How does it feel? Looking forward to seeing you…

    Pictures are great once again! It will seem strange not having updates…but life will go on!

  • Matt V

    Stay in Antarctica…it’s freezing here!

  • Sue K

    Where is the sedum? ;)

  • Scott

    @ Kristen: Fixed, thanks.

    @ Mom: I’m scheduled to leave the ice on Feb. 18, so a little more than two weeks. I’ll just have to find a new adventure to take photos of. ;)

    @ Matt: Temperatures have recently dipped to the single digits and wind chills get below zero here. It’s still summer though…

    @ Sue: I’m sure there is sedum in the Botanic Gardens. We have enough at home, so I didn’t look for it. :D

  • Jeff Maples

    Scott, thanks for the spring pictures. I am now stoked to go into the basement; set up my plant lights; and start my seeds to growing. I’ll be happy if my garden looks half as good as your pictures (actually, I’d be happy at a quarter).

  • Scott

    @ Jeff: Very suspicious… Are the local authorities aware of your basement activities? ;)

  • Jeff Maples

    Only Dave knows and “Dave’s not here, man” (sound of toilet flushing).

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