January 9, 2010 Hello, New Zealand
The last couple days flew by in a whirlwind of packing, cleaning the lab, hosting my 2nd PolarTREC webinar and participating in Gary Wesche's second one, as well as saying "see you later" to all the wonderful friends I met in McMurdo and dreaming up plans for my first couple weeks back in the "real world." Yesterday afternoon, I left McMurdo on a C-130 military cargo plane along with 87 other people who are either finished with their time on the Ice for the season, or are taking a short vacation in New Zealand before heading back to Antarctica to spend the winter continuing to keep the Station running and science progressing. After the 5 hour journey from McMurdo, Antarctica to Christchurch, New Zealand, the first things I noticed were the color of the sky- all dusky and fading to black, the smell of fresh cut grass, and the delightful pitter-pattering of raindrops as they sprinkled down on all the bewildered Antarctica passengers. I have not seen a dark sky nor felt rain since mid-November, so these sensations are very welcome and made me realize how fantastical Antarctica is even just for the complete departure from typical feelings it provided me. I have a little over a week in New Zealand before I fly to Honolulu, Hawaii to visit family on my way back to Whidbey Island. While in New Zealand I am taking a 3-day kayaking trip up in the Abel Tasman area of the South Island. My Kiwi plans after that are completely unknown as of right now- I am just letting adventures come as they may. I will try to update this journal as often as I can, but the lovely days of daily journaling are over with. This is not by choice, but because of circumstance. I will not have Wi-Fi on a beach or in a kayak in the ocean. Nor are many of the places I may visit conducive to spending time writing a journal, uploading photos and the like. So, my wonderful readers check back every few days in hopes of another posting by me. In the meantime, thank you for joining me on this amazing adventure.