February 3, 2011 Goodbye Antarctica: Mystery Photo #11 Solved!
Did you guess that the image was of the inside of an airplane? The airplane, or C-17, that takes passengers back from the ice to New Zealand is pretty neat inside. All of the vents, cables, and wires are exposed so you can really see the 'innards' of the airplane. It is fascinating to see how many wires it takes to keep a plane operating!
It was a sad day as we left Antarctica. It is always so surprising when the season so rapidly comes to an end. Just a few days ago, I was sleeping out in the middle of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Now, I am in the heat, moisture, and dark of New Zealand! You can travel so far, to such varied places, in a very short period of time. In less than five hours you can go from Antarctica to New Zealand!
My emotions are jumbled as I begin a long transition back to 'normal' life. The ebb and flow of life at WAIS is quite different from that at home. I am now back with a high-speed internet connection and soon I will have my cell phone. It is intimidating to be 'connected' again! I will certainly miss the quiet and relatively simple life of camp. Once I return back in Seattle, I will be preparing for a move to Colorado. While in Antarctica I was offered a research job with the USGS. In a matter of weeks, I will be skiing in the Rocky Mountains collecting water samples! Life is certainly a wild ride and I wouldn't change a thing.
As I reflect on this season and what I face in the future, I can't help but feel grateful. I am so fortunate to have these opportunities. I will miss WAIS and all of the joys and frustrations of life down south. However, I am also looking forward to the excitement of being home and the challenges of a new job. Happily, my new office is right near the National Ice Core Laboratory, allowing me to follow along as the ice arrives and is prepared for analysis. I will be able to keep you updated once the ice arrives in Denver in late March.
Safe travels to all, including the ice cores!
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