After one night in McMurdo it was time to leave. (It was actually November 9th when I left McMurdo.) I spent the evening walking around with some new friends in McMurdo and I was amazed by how much the scenery had changed in three weeks--almost all of the ice and snow in town had melted completely. I met some new people who had just arrived to stay a month in McMurdo and felt bad that they had missed the Antarctic experience. The temperature hovered around 32 F which felt like a sauna for me. I walked around in just a fleece jacket and tennis shoes instead of bunny boots convinced that it wasn't even cold there.
I found out more about the population at McMurdo. Here are the facts:
I checked my blood oxygen at McMurdo and was delighted to see it had returned to normal saturation.
Finally it was time to load up and leave. We climbed onto "Ivan the Terra Bus" and rolled out to the airfield.
We flew without event to New Zealand. We made great time and landed in under five hours. Passengers dozed, read, listened to music and changed into their warmer weather clothes. When we landed I was surprised that light didn't rush in the open doorways--it was dark out! I had become so accustomed to 24-hours of light that I really didn't expect to see darkness. The smells of land were overwhelming too. Antarctica has no smells, really, apart from oil and fuel burning. The smells flooded in when the back tail opened.