Leaving Palmer station in the windy and cold darkness on the morning of June 15th was one of the most surreal experiences I have ever had. We were the last people that the remaining 18 persons left at the station would see until October, when the Laurence M. Gould (LMG) would resume its regular journeys across the Southern Ocean and the famed Drake PassageStrait, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans between Tierra del Fuego and the South Shetland Islands. Located about 100 mi (160 km) north of the Antarctic Peninsula, it is 600 mi (1,000 km) wide.. As the boat pulls out of the harbor, everyone on board looks back at the ceremonial polar plunge that often accompanies the final LMG launch of the year.
After a fairly uneventful trip across the Drake PassageStrait, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans between Tierra del Fuego and the South Shetland Islands. Located about 100 mi (160 km) north of the Antarctic Peninsula, it is 600 mi (1,000 km) wide. (only 20ft waves), we arrived back at Punta Arenas, Chile on June 19th and left the ship on the 20th. I decided to travel around Chile for a while, spending some time in Torres del Paine, Santiago, and the Atacama Desert. Chile is a varied and beautiful country and I felt like I could spend even more time than I did traveling and sightseeing. My flight left Santiago on June 30th and without a hitch I arrived back in Asheville mid-morning on July 1st.
Living in the countryside and having three acres to mow and take care of, there is never a lack of work that needs to be done in the yard. I decided to wake up early and get out in the yard to relieve some of the work my wife has been doing for the last six weeks and boy the heat and humidity of NC did not let me down. After three hours of tilling and picking weeds I was sweating like a... well, like an Antarctican in North Carolina. I had already sweated out five pounds and well I guess the post expedition diet started then. July 4th came and went with the usual fanfare and my wife had put together a welcome home party for me on Friday, July 6th. We had a grand ol’ time and I made a slideshow of some of my favorite pictures from the trip and everyone had lots of good questions about my expedition.
This week is back to normal summer living in this beautiful part of the country I call home. Biking, climbing, boating and hiking with my dog are all things I have on my schedule for this week. It’s good to be home, but my next adventure awaits as my wife, myself and some friends head to South Africa for some mountain biking and a safari.