It has been four days of walking the parks and seeing green stuff, watching dogs and hearing birds sing. It's the simple things in life that winter polies enjoy. I have also enjoyed a few lunches and dinners with my polie friends before we all go our own way. When you spend nine months in close quarters with 45 other people you develop relationships that only winter-overs understand. All of a sudden we are like grains of seeds tossed in the wind to rebuild our lives.
My third successful Antarctic winter has come to an end. I'm somewhere around number 1,200 - the number of people who have wintered at the South Pole since the first winter-over crew in 1957. That number increases about 45 each year. That's only a few of the world's population. I look at it as a great honor to live and work this adventure.
I would like to thank you all for reading and sending comments. It can be a difficult time made easier with comments/emails. I would also like to thank my wife Andrea for once again letting me live my dreams. With an around the world bicycle ride with my daughter Jocelyn and three Antarctic winters I haven't been home much in the last six years since I 'retired'.
In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator, "I'll be back."
|The Winterover Antarctic service medal that is authorized to be worn on all military service uniforms. For each year served there is a bronze, silver, and gold "Wintered Over" ribbon given. I now have the full selection.|
|McMurdo Chapel with Mt. Discovery to the left. McMurdo is technically not part of the continent. Mt. Discovery is on the continent about 20 miles away separated by the Ross Ice Shelf.|
|A fine group of winter polies at Gallagher's Bar in McMurdo Station.|
|Hut Point to the right and looking across the sea-ice shelf. During the summer this ice shelf is cleared and open to sea life of all kinds. Pods of whales and orcas cruise the sound and many more seals and penguins are present.|
|Observation Hill and two of the transient barracks - Mammoth Mountain Inn and Hotel California.|
|McMurdo Station heliport.|
|McMurdo Ground Station with a 30 foot weather satellite communications antenna inside the dome. During my first ice winter in 2012 I worked here under a a NASA contract.|
|A fine ride to the C-17 airfield.|
|Mt. Erebus (left) and Mt. Terror, two of Ross Island's four volcanoes. Both are named after James Clark Ross' Antarctic expeditions ships between 1839-1843.|
|Mt. Erebus is the southern hemisphere's most active volcano and stands at 12, 500 feet. It last erupted in 1979 and is 25 miles from McMurdo Station.|
|Walking to our off the ice transportation.|
|My chariot awaits.|
|It was a comfortable but loud 5 hour flight to Christchurch, New Zealand.|
|Turning in our Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) gear at the USAP Clothing Distribution Center (CDC) next door to the airport.. We were glad to get rid of all that. Back to regular clothes. What a treat!|
|While waiting for a ride to our hotels we enjoyed a beautiful sunset.|
|Before the 2011 earthquake.|
|On my way home to Cape Canaveral, Florida!|