As I venture back down to Antarctica this year, it is with a heavy heart. This, being my third and last year 'on the ice', and the fact I am leaving my wife and eleven month old daughter, makes me miss home already. However, this field season presents a new opportunity the prior years have not –a ten hour layover in Sydney, Australia! It has been a life-long dream to visit Australia- thus far my only glimpse was from the Sydney International Airport. While most would groan at the thought of a ten hour layover, I decided to embrace this opportunity as my chance to get a survey of the city.
After an extra long fifteen-hour flight from, I made my way to the train system and immediately felt reinvigorated. I made the choice to get off the train at the central terminal and walk all the way downtown to the Opera House. With my legs getting some use again, I briskly started on my journey. As I walked, I found Sydney to be very beautiful and the people to be friendly and fit. Everyone was pursuing a pace as if late for a meeting. Walking through the local communities, I finally made it to the famous Hyde Park. The Hills Fig Trees cascaded over the walkway with sharp rays of sunlight breaking through the trees- it was simply beautiful! Many children were on field trips to the park and the surrounding museums. From the park, I made my way to the Royal Botanical Gardens. Walking along the harbor I was able to enjoy the sculptures, bamboo groves, and the ancient Fica trees. Glancing up from the beauty, I saw my destination in the distance- the world renowned Sydney Opera House. Once there, I took an exorbitant amount of pictures. As I was walking at a local’s pace, I realized I still had plenty of time to stop and enjoy myself. I picked a little bistro, in Sydney Cove, to stop, refuel, and mingle with the surroundings. I asked everyone around to take a picture of me so that every shot I have in Sydney is not a selfie. After lunch I determined my next stop would be a tour of the harbor. I ended up taking a ferry to Mosman Bay. Knowing I just left a dreary Michigan fall, and would be spending the next six weeks on a frozen continent, I needed to enjoy Spring in Sydney and get myself on the water. The tour was great as I always enjoy seeing a new place from multiple perspectives. While on the water, I could see rain approaching so I took as many pictures as I could to commemorate my visit. As I was taking a picture of the Opera House, my Detroit Tigers hat flew off my head and into Sydney Harbor. Hatless, I walked back train. Boo. Attempting to figure out the speediest way, I stopped and asked which stop would be the right one for the aquarium. I found out that out of the ten people I asked for varying directions to tourist sites, not one local could any give sort of directions. They did not know what trains to take, which stops to go to, or where anything was! Oddly enough, some of these people actually worked the train information desks. Unfettered, I found my way, like I always do, and saw what I could before returning to the airport for another four hour flight.
Once through customs, I found the storm that swallowed my hat, had also delayed my flight. As if it wasn’t bad enough that I was due to arrive at 1:00am but I was required to collect my extreme cold weather gear from the Antarctic Support Center at 7:00am.! At this point in my adventure I have currently been up for 44 hours already and have another six ahead of me without delays! Soon to come will be a introduction to the field team!