The Adventure Continues
Yesterday, we dropped off the ten members of our team who came from the UK at the British research station Rothera on the Antarctica peninsula. It should be easier for them to get home quickly and easily from that location. After close to 60 days at sea together and all that came along with it - sediment, waves, ice, data, seals - it feels strange to still be out here on the ship without them.
The rest of us are continuing on to Palmer Station, where we will spend a day picking up some members of the summer team (now that the summer season is officially over) and getting tours of their facilities. It will be my first time walking on solid ground in a month and a half and my first time seeing new faces in real life since late January. I can't wait to meet some people that haven't already heard the four jokes I know.
After we leave Palmer Station, we are headed to Chile. Because no one on the ship has had any contact with anyone other than people in Antarctica for over 60 days, we are considered "quarantined" and will be allowed to pull up to the dock in Punta Arenas. Folks at the Antarctic Support Contractor are doing everything possible to figure out the best way to get us all home. I'm really enjoying the trip north, as we hug the edge of the continent, with coastlines and mountains in sight from the deck of the ship. And the longer we linger here, the more time I have to mentally, physically, and emotionally prepare myself for another crossing of the Drake PassageStrait, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans between Tierra del Fuego and the South Shetland Islands. Located about 100 mi (160 km) north of the Antarctic Peninsula, it is 600 mi (1,000 km) wide. - and for returning to a world that will be much, much different than the one I left back in January.