I am packing today. My name has appeared on the C-17 PAX manifest. I have to "bag-drag" tomorrow and then fly the next day. It has been a long time I have been here in some ways and short in others. It is confusing when I think about it. Also on my day off today I will be trying 14.243 MHz to contact North America. I have heard the band might be open 6 PM east coast time. I have not made a North American contact in the time I have been down here, so far.
I looked at the correolis effects here and at pole. There is a pronounced clockwise swirl in the sink at pole. Here at McMurdo (I suspect because of the sink design) it is not so pronounced. We have different fixtures at Pole and McMurdo (like everything else).
I went to Mt. Bird yesterday to uninstall our seasonal cross-banded VHF/UHF repeater. That appears to be my last mission on the ice. We saw some orcas, seals and penguins on the ride out there. I was reflective on what has changed with me doing this job for the last 4 months. I am certainly a lot less intimidated in piloting a helo myself. I may try it up in Syracuse. Controls are somewhat backwards compared to a fixed wing. There have been other changes too. Flying this coming year will be fun. I got a lot of great advice from a friend here on the ice.
It will be impossible for me to sum this experience up in a paragraph or two. I am not sure it can be summed up. I am waiting for some huge answers to come to me--nothing. Not much is coming to me in the way of answers. Not yet anyway. I definately have been enlightened. I believe there will be some culmination at some point and I still have a lot of success coming my way.
The photos show Cape Evans from the air (see the hut) and the open water that was all ice 9 feet + thick along the north shore of Ross Island a few months back. It is a big difference between October and February.
The other picture shows two hovercrafts that were launched off the Spirit of Enderby. The Spirit of Enderby is basically a Russian work boat turned into a high priced tourist ship for the Antarctic. It can't make it all the way into town. The ice is still a little too tight for a ship like the Enderby. The tours of McMurdo were cancelled becuase of the timing/logistics of getting passengers ashore in the hovercrafts. I took the picture with a long lens from the helo pad. The guy stood there for about 5 minutes in this position. The helo techs, pilots, and I were laughing at him... "He looks like he has come to either rescue or conquer all of us in town." Take your pick. We are all tired.