Monday, February 9, 2009

Home Sweet Home (Day 2 on ice)

I got up early yesterday, and schlepped all of my stuff down to the Christchurch airport. We got on the C-17 transport plane about 9:30, and took off about 10:30-- they were having a hard time getting the plane started, I guess.

C-17s are great to fly in, especially when they add rows of forward-facing passenger seats, as our plane had. There were only about 40 of us on the plane, so we all had tons of room.

We landed at Pegasus runway at about 3:30. It's eerie to land in a plane with no windows. You never quite know when to expect the "bump". The flight was uneventful, as was the ride to town.

It's weird to be back. I was only gone for 115 days-- in some ways it feels like I never left. That's not exactly a happy thought in such a harsh place, but it is good to see a lot of friends from last year.

There is a little bit of a superior feeling being a winterover. We feel like we are coming back to real Antarctic experience, and the summer weenies are leaving. "It'll be cold and dark! We're outta here!" they squeal as they run for the exits.

My job will probably be quite a bit more boring than it was last year. In winter '08, we had what they called "extended season". An extra flight came in in April, so some special science could be conducted after the normal station closing time of late February. I got out in a helo to take down a repeater, and there was quite a bit of activity in those last couple of months.

This time I'm coming down earlier (early February as opposed to late February), and there's not much going on. The repeaters have all been brought back, and the helos are already winterized. Time to settle down for a very low-key winter, I supposed, and just be very grateful that I have a job.
(Photo was taken by Peter Lund early last year. No, I hadn't gained 100 pounds since you friends had last seen me-- I was just wearing a LOT of clothes. It was nippy.)

No comments: