16 February 2019 After A 6-Day Extension, Wormherders Leave The Ice

Location

McMurdo Station, Antarctica and Christchurch, New Zealand. Here are a few pictures from my McMurdo home:

ErebusMajestic Mt. Erebus from McMurdo Station. Mt. Erebus is the most southern active volcano, over 12,000ft high.

Sunset over Chapel of SnowsFebruary sunset behind the Chapel of the Snows. Notice how much lower the sun is now compared to photos from when I first arrived seven weeks ago.

View from Ob HillHere is one of the views from Observation Hill.

Weather

Ross Ice Shelf which is where the Phoenix Runway is located: Temperatures in the teens. Mostly cloudy. 15mph winds. Christchurch: 65 degrees. Calm winds. Partly cloudy. With the smell of "life" in the air. I could smell plants again.

Flight Status

Flight StatusAs of this morning, it looks like our flight this afternoon is still a "Go".

Flight Preparations

Bag dragWith the possibility of our C-17 coming to get us (six days after our scheduled off-ice date) it was time for "bag drag". We bring in our bags to get checked onto the aircraft.

IvanWe loaded into Ivan for our ride out onto the Ross Ice Shelf where we would board our C-17 for our ride off the ice.

KressThis was the other vehicle used to transport us out on the Ross Ice Shelf. It is called the "Kress". Look at the size of that thing compared to the folks up there by it.

Dr. Adams on iceDr. Adams stretching out (seal imitation) prior to our flight. The other 150 folks are crammed into that little hut behind him. With our ECW (extreme cold weather gear), the cold windy air was pleasant to be in. We were enjoying every last minute of the ice.

The Air Force C-17 shows up. Our flight is still a go.

C-17After about an hour wait on the ice runway, our ride, an Air Force C-17 dropped through the clouds and was visible.

Loading C-17Check out how the back part of this monster plane opens up so that front end loaders can drive in with heavy loads.

In line to board C-17Hoping there will be enough room for all that cargo, AND all of us.

Last wormherder shotThe Wormherders pose for one more group shot on the ice.

Dr. Thomas Powers and IDr. Thomas Powers (Topper) and I have become the best of friends. The two of us were first-timers to the ice. He is a man of dignity, knowledge, and friendly to all. Thank you Topper for being my friend.

Bye AntarcticaGoodbye Antarctica. It has been a life-changing seven weeks on the ice.

Headed for home on C-17An excited group to be headed for home. We are inside the massive Air Force C-17. We could have played a full-court game of basketball inside this aircraft.

Dr. Adams and Tasha on ride home.Dr. Adams and Tasha on the flight off of the ice. Tasha finally got some long needed rest. She was our "captain" of the lab group. She took care of the things that kept our team running smoothly. She seemed to always be the last one to go to bed because she was always doing something to help our team.

The team before boardingI will miss my Wormherder friends. They taught me so much during my stay on the ice. They have been true friends. I have learned so much about science from them, but more importantly, how to be a good person. Thank you everyone.

Team Member

Kevin Dickerson's picture

Journal Details

Dry Valleys Ecosystem Study Journals

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