Sunrise: depends on where I was... Sunset: depends on where I was...The last two days have been bitter sweet - while I am very excited to be on my way home, I am also very sad that my adventure is coming to end.
The final morning on board the Polar Sea was spent packing the final pieces of gear and weighing it all for the helicopter trip to shore. The science crew all gathered in the hanger to take turns as the helicopters shuttled people back and forth to shore. The flight was only about 5 minutes, but seemed to take us so far away from the boat where we had spent the last 5 weeks. It was so nice to be on solid ground again!
Thanks to the help of individuals from BASC (Barrow Arctic Science Consortium), we were transported around to complete errands such as shipping samples and equipment. When it came time for our flight out of Barrow, the scientist crew seemed to take up most of the plane! We were all on similar flights, so I had travel partners through all of the different airports I travelled through over the course of many hours (Fairbanks, Anchorage, Seattle and finally Oakland!)
Now that I have been home a day, it's time to start catching up on all the things that had to be put on hold while in the field for approximately 5 weeks. While the field portion of this experience has come to end, I look forward to now sharing the experiences first had with my students and figuring out ways to incorporate the experiences and knowledge in to upcoming lessons for my students. The learning from the experiences is still just in the beginning phases!
Also, FYI - the other teams have all made it home safely as well. We have all made our ways back home across the US to Fairbanks, Anchorage, Wyoming, Illinois, California, Montana, Washington DC, etc. The coast guard crew remains on board the Polar Sea for one more short scientific mission and then begin their way back home to Seattle after making several port calls in places like Dutch Harbor and Vancouver.