This morning I woke up at 3:10am and I quickly realized that I had five minutes to get dressed, grab my bag, and hike up a hill. I rushed around and I was only a few minutes late. It turned out that a lot of people must have woken up late because less than half of the people were there when I arrived. They gave us earplugs and a box breakfast and had us board "Ivan the Terra" bus. One poor lady really overslept and they had to call and wake her. The bus drove out to the airfield and we waited for the South African plane to finish getting ready. We boarded the plane a little after 5:00am. The plane was full and everyone buckled up for a long flight.

I was very lucky because I had one of the very few seats that had a small window. As the plane took off I took some last pictures of Antarctica.

A last view of Antarctica.
Through my little porthole on the airplane I caught a last glimpse of the snow and ice.

I even managed to get a parting shot of Mount Erebus. I really will miss seeing this beautiful volcano every day.

My last look at Mount Erebus.
Even through a porthole Mount Erebus is magnificent.

As the plane was travelling towards New Zealand I glimpsed out of the window and saw the ice breaking up. It looked just like a frozen lake at the beginning of spring.

The ice breaking up.
As I flew to New Zealand I was able to see the ice breaking up.

I mentioned that I was one of the few with a window view. I also had more leg room than most of the other passengers as well. Of course, if I wanted to stretch out my legs I had to use the toilet seat. Don't worry because there was another toilet seat right next to it with a curtain around it for privacy. This is actually the fancier plane that is used to take people back to New Zealand.

My foot rest.
I was able to stretch out my feet and use the toilet as a foot rest.

As the plane began to make its descent, I noticed that it was raining on me. All over the first four rows it was raining as the pipes in the plane warmed up during the descent. I have to admit that it was not one of my favorite plane rides. In fact, the others in my group said that it was the worst flight that they had ever taken. Everyone was happy to land in New Zealand and leave the plane.

Everyone leaving the plane in New Zealand.
The plane was from South Africa and was managed by the Italian Antarctica organization.

We went back to the CDC and turned in all of our ECW gear. Everyone got their travel arrangements. Well, almost everyone. I was given a piece of paper that said they were unable to get me a flight out today and that I would have to stay in Christchurch two nights. I went over to the travel office and they told me that they had not ticketed my trip home but that I could call tomorrow and it should be done. I was a little surprised that some people did have tickets but a few of us didn't. In fact, Seth was given a ticket for tomorrow but he wants to leave on December 31st. Hopefully, I will have a ticket tomorrow.

We went to the Windsor Bed & Breakfast and then headed out to get a bite to eat. Everyone was feeling the effects of no sleep and a really bad flight. I took a long awaited bath and then turned in for the night.

Windsor Bed and Breakfast
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