Ladies and Gentlemen…Roll Cage Mary

July 12, 2010 at 10:25 pm (In Our Down Time)

Temps: -20 C / -4 F
WC: -28 C / -18 F
Winds: 6 kts
Pole: -60 C / -76 F

Roll Cage Mary. My Antarctic Band. Definitely the coolest and most fun thing I’ve been a part of down here. Nathan named us after the statue of Our Lady of the Snows, called Roll Cage Mary by anyone who didn’t erect it (hey) for Richard T. Williams.

Williams was a construction driver whose bulldoser broke through the sea ice and sank on January 6th, 1956. His body was never recovered from under the ice. He was hauling materials meant to build an airstrip to support exploration and the construction of South Pole Station. The airstrip project was later moved to a different location, which became the currently operating Williams Air Operating Facility, or more fondly “Willie Field.” Besides a propeller memoriam plaque at the airfield, the other memorial to Williams is “Our Lady of the Snow,” a statue of Mary in a fashioned grotto which has been repaired by workers over the years, though now stands in more of a cage than a grotto, and is often called “Roll Cage Mary” in McMurdo landmark fashion.

From afar at sunset…

And close up…

Kevin Cole on lead guitar…

Justin Dolan on bass…

And the stellar and uber-patriotic Nathan Murphy on drums.

The gang, all of whom kindly stayed up way past their bedtime. We were supposed to start at 9:30, but the auction didn’t end until 10:45.

We packed it in just after midnight, just like real musicians.

Some video for you. Though the sound quality’s poor, you can see we had a real nice time.

Goodnight, Antarctica!

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