Soon, we will leave "The Ice" - maybe even today? Our bags are packed and turned in to the cargo department, and we are waiting for news of our flight. Will we leave today, as planned? Maybe!

    We fly back to Christchurch on an LC-130. Its a smaller plane, way smaller than the C-17 we arrived on. The reason for this is because as spring has progressed here, the sea ice runway has gotten much thinner and the heavy C-17 can't land on it safely anymore.

    A C-130 is a propeller plane that can hold about 35 people uncomfortably. Its also slower; it will take 9 hours to get to New Zealand, in contrast to the C-17 that only takes 5 hours. The other thing about the C-130 is that its fuel tank is smaller, so it can't hold enough fuel to turn around if if the weather deteriorates. So, it only flies when the weather is pretty predictably good.

    Our C-130 is on its way here now from Christchurch. I imagine it will land, unload its passengers and cargo, and then HOPEFULLY head back to New Zealand, with us! But, we won't arrive in New Zealand until the middle of the night tonight, if we are lucky.

    So, I will hopefully be traveling for the next few days, retracing my steps back across the Pacific and might arrive home at the end of this week.


    I'll try to post another journal if I can. In the meantime, here's a little video I made that connects my current field work with what I did with my team back in 2014. That team was especially interested in microbial mats that grow like a carpet along the bottom of the Dry Valley lakes:

    McMurdo Station, Antarctica
    Weather Summary
    Overcast, calm
    Wind Chill



    Big body benz or the stizz or the lamb I need me a big luh honeybunor a luh tonka

    Karlie Hermit

    What happens if the weather is so bad you can't travel back for a week or two?

    Ethan G

    I have always wanted to go to New Zealand, please tell me how it is?

    Yaroslava Savchenko

    That is amazing, glad to know you're returning. Was there a point in your trip that the weather was worse than usual? Like a blizzard

    Bill Henske

    I am glad to have had you blazing trails for me :) My students were really inspired by your work in Antarctica. The zooms made really great connection with them. Several are still going through your journals.

    Rachel K

    Wow, That's the BIG picture!