The day began way too early! We had a small window of time beginning at 7am for breakfast and souvenir shopping! Then a hike for a tour of Scott’s Hut at 8am or a tour of the Aquarium (how much can we cram into a couple of hours???). As I was sitting at breakfast with Kelly Faulkner from NSF up walks Kirk Beckendorf, PolarTREC teacher studying weather here at McMurdo. We talked only briefly as I explained my time crunch, but took time for a quick photo.

Two Texans in Antarctica

Kirk and Lollie meet up in McMurdo!*

By 11:30 we headed for the departure site to begin our ride in Ivan. When we arrived, we were told it would be about an hour’s wait. The plane was coming in from Christchurch and would have to unload passengers and cargo before we could get in. So we milled around and took pictures. There is only a very small terminal, so most decided to stay outdoors.

Last Pictures on the Ice

Cecilia Selberg ,my roomie on the Oden, poses with me.*

Staying close to the C17

I want to make sure I get on!

While we were there, someone pointed out the Oden in the distance-it was quite a sight to see this friend one last time.

Oden at Work

A last look at the Mighty Oden.*

Before long we got the news about a medical emergency. We would have to wait until the patient was brought in-this is the only flight to New Zealand and substantial medical facilities. Of course we understood. Some of us slept, some played in the snow, and six hours later we boarded the C17.

Sleeping in the Snow

Fatigue creeps in as the time crawls by.

Once inside the C17, we put in our earplugs (its VERY loud), stowed our gear, took a few pictures, and then most of us slept,again.

Front of the Plane

This plane is huge-and it sure is loud!

Back of the Plane

Cargo is stowed in the back.*

We arrived in Christchurch at 1 am. Just before landing, Kevin Bakker who was sitting across from me caught my attention as he signaled me to look up at the tiny porthole window. Insert: midplane2-001.jpg

Middle of the Plane

Kevin signals me to look up.

It was dark-it was nighttime!

The day that began on Nov. 30th had finally come to an end.

I am in transit now, making my way back to Houston. There are still two stories to be told about our journey: one about the Oden, the other about the science. I hope you will check back in about a week.

By the way, the next sunset in Antarctica will be on Feb. 20!


The Summer Sun

One of the most lasting memories: the Sun that never sets.