Are We There Yet?As much as I have enjoyed every minute of this expedition and I am already starting to miss some of the great people I have become friends with on the Oden, the last mile to McMurdo has taken us over 24 hours. The Oden has been cutting a channel through 3-meter thick sea ice and it has been slow going. We have been able to see the buildings for 2 days and this morning as we prepared to leave by helicopter, we are only about 200 meters from the ice pier. The decision was made to keep us on the ship until 2pm and skip the helicopter because by then we will be able to walk off the ship.

    Everyone is packed and our rooms are all cleaned and inspected and it is the longest 5-hour wait I can remember. Once on shore we will be able to spend some tourist time today and then we will fly to New Zealand tomorrow.

    I will probably spend most of the next few days thanking everyone on the expedition for the friendship and the authentic scientific experiences that they have shared with me. Last night I presented a film festival for the whole ship and showed them the 14 short documentaries that I have created for this journal as well as a slideshow that summarized the whole trip. Everyone liked the videos so much that I have spent many hours making DVD copies for almost everyone.

    Jeff and Tish
    My first thank-you goes to Dr. Tish Yager who agreed to sponsor me on this adventure. She is a great scientist and has become a great friend to me.

    Volleyball on McMurdo Sound
    The crew of the Oden set up a volleyball court in the middle of McMurdo Sound when we were at our last ice station. Everyone joined in. We were still 20 miles from McMurdo Station, in an Antarctic wilderness. At one point the game was suspended for a few minutes as a group of Adelie penguins walked right up to the court as if they were going to play too.

    Midnight Penguin
    This Adelie walked by me while we were on our last all night trek with the seal research team. The sun was just about straight South of us and at its lowest angle in the sky.

    Making memories on the ice,

    Jeff Peneston

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