Christchurch, New Zealand is the logistical hub for McMurdo station in Antarctica. Jessie and I were last in Christchurch in February of 2011, just before the major Christchurch earthquake. In fact, Jessie was in the air between Christchurch and Auckland when the earthquake struck. The earthquake caused lots of damage, particularly to the bigger buildings in the center of town. You can see some images before the large earthquake in a prior post.
Yesterday, I walked the couple of miles from my hotel to the center of town. I noticed more construction than usual on my walk in, but nothing striking. I then went to the botanical gardens, which had the same lovely feel as before. Adrian’s olinguito enjoyed the gardens quite a bit.
After the botanical gardens, I walked into the city. I headed to Cathedral Square, the heart of Christchurch, knowing that the Cathedral had suffered some significant damage. Indeed it had, with one end more or less gone.
For comparison from 2011:
More striking were the large buildings still fenced off. The signs of the businesses still in sight But most striking, was simply the lack of buildings at all. This photo is looking up the main street from Cathedral Square.
The city center was simply nothing like what I had seen nearly 4 years ago. It was disorienting – landmarks no longer existed. They had been torn down. The river was still the same, but without the restaurants, shops, and buildings I didn’t really know where I was in the city.
There is a lot of building activity and I’m sure Christchurch will emerge from this with a new downtown core. I look forward to seeing the changes in the coming years.
Get ready for the next Antarctic Adventure! T.J. is heading back to the ice next week and we will be providing regular updates and photos. There have been a lot of changes since we last posted. We are now Dr. and Dr. Fudge. T.J. has completed his PhD and is now a post-doc at the University of Washington. Jessie completed her Sports Medicine Fellowship at the University of Washington and is working in a sports practice in Everett, WA. We have also added a member to the Fudge clan. Adrian was born on October 12, 2013. He seems to love snow, and is looking forward to some more “sled skiing” this winter.
T.J.’s last project was at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide. He published his findings in Nature. You can link to the article here. His new project will bring him to the South Pole where they are drilling another ice core. Since, I am a bit jealous that he is returning to Antarctica without me, I like to remind him that I was the first Fudge to stand at the South Pole. We look forward to having you follow along on T.J.’s South Pole adventure. Look for new posts starting early January.