In a comment posted, Mrs. Miller asked me what three things I'll miss once I leave the ice to head back home in a little over two weeks. Hmmm. Let me think about that for a moment...
One thing I'll miss is the novelty of being here. There seems to be something everyday that makes me stop and think, "Wow! I'm in Antarctica!!" When I step out the door in the morning and the cold wind bites my nose I think, how cool- I'm in Antarctica! At brunch on Sundays the first thing I put on my plate is several slices of fresh watermelon. And then I think, "Wow, I'm eating fresh watermelon and I'm in Antarctica!!" And after being in the science camp for a couple of weeks the temperatures started to climb as the sun climbed in the sky and stopped setting at night. Sleeping in sleeping bags in tents, you would think would be really cold, but I found I was too warm at night and had to unzip my sleeping bag to let some heat out. I thought to myself, "my gosh I'm camping in Antarctica and I'm too hot!!! How crazy is that?" These novelties, I will greatly miss.
The breathtaking scenery is another thing I'll miss. McMurdo station isn't a very pretty town, but even the view from the library in the Crary science building is beautiful and it's a great spot to watch the weather changes roll in. From there we look out across from Ross Island to the Transantarctic Mountains and see several glaciers. I took this photo yesterday from the Library windows. In the foreground you can see four planes out on the sea ice runway with the mountains in the background. The area where our camp was (the coordinates for our camp: 77 degrees south, 163 degrees east) was even more striking. I took this photo from our camp. Even though the mountains in that area are only 6,000 ft. I loved watching the light change and to see how it affected the way the mountains looked. I'll never forget that place.
I think the third thing I'll miss is all the really cool science that is being done here and the enthusiasm of the scientists conducting this important research. ANDRILL is just one of many projects here. I know of at least four projects being done on Mt. Erebus- the nearby active volcano, at least three projects involving seal research, two penguin projects, numerous benthic communities research groups, and several involving glacier research. I also know of other projects using GPS surveying sea ice stability and countless atmospheric and astronomical projects. Its great to have the chance to meet these scientists and see the enthusiasm they have for their specialties. All these groups give lectures in the evenings and I've attended as many as I'm able to. I've learned SO MUCH!! And being able to call myself an active participant in this science community makes me feel like the luckiest person I know of. Actually, I need to finish this blog so I can get to a lecture on the new British Antarctic Survey station, Halley VI, to be constructed over the next couple of years.
Thanks for your great question, Mrs. Miller. Say hello to your second grade class for me. I'll be sure to stop in for a visit as soon as I get back to Delaware in a few weeks.