Life now is all about the clean up. Within the next week 400 people will be leaving station. 140 per plane so about 3-4 planes will carry us away to the beautiful land call greenery. Wait no, that’s not it’s name, it’s Cheech, no wait ChristChurch. That’s it. This McMurdo brain fart is insane, we can’t remember words, names or anything else and those of us who are leaving are definitely ready to get off the ice.
Ironically, it’s also the time we are most happy with the ice. For however long we’ve been here, 4 months, 6 months, 13 months, leaving is the time you remember that being on the ice is not a regular adventure. We came here boiling with the enthusiasm of a place that is as unique as anyplace on earth, we got stuck in the muck of bureaucracy, politics, and monotony. We bitched we wined, moaned and groaned about the food, the roommates, the lack of boondoggles, etc, and less then we should did we stop and remember that we are in Antarctica. A place that half the world doesn’t even understand exists, let alone know that it’s down not up.
But as people head home, the final ships leave and the sun sets, we begin to really grasp how much we enjoy this place, it’s people, and unique opportunity we have. The muck of work has left us as the hole at the end of the tunnel brings the opportunities of travel home to us and the reality of the world back to our minds.
For me as much as I crave a real pizza, chipotle, sushi, steak, and draft beer, I’m almost ready to stay a while. I leave the 15th here (as it’s 2am the 14th as I write this) so I have just about 36 hours to enjoy this place. I’m wondering if I’ll ever see this place again given more then a few mistakes on my part this year. (Nothing great, but perhaps a badly played game of political chess.) Given this I no longer want to sleep, but must cave into my body.
Ah well, now comes the fun part, getting out into the traveling world. In the mean time, check out my website for videos of the cargo vessel, the tanker, the icebreaker, and the polar star. These are real time videos I turned into time lapse video for your pleasure. (Quick scene setting, the black mountain that is to the left in some scenes is black island where our communications stuff is, the mountains behind the vessels are the southern part of the dry valleys, the place on the right where the ships are docked to is a big ice slab covered with dirt called the ice pier, and the place where the ships turn around is called the turning basin.)