24 November 2004 Mike again

Shower-time!

Finally, the day has come to say good-bye to New Harbor. We had a great time and got all of our work done, despite challenging sea ice conditions. Now it's time to go "home" to McMurdo.

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We'll miss our little Adelie friend, who was sighted way up the valley yesterday and still on the move. Unfortunately, chances are slim to none that it'll realize its mistake and make it back to open water.

We'll also miss >

We'll also miss our numerous daily, adrenaline-filled commutes across the now-thawed moat (left image taken on 11/ 10, looking toward camp from seaward edge of moat).

We broke down camp this morning, cleaned up, and mothballed it until January, when the next research group is scheduled to arrive.

A couple of choppers arrived to pick us and all of our gear up around 10 a.m.

Bob taking charge of comms, directing the approach for the helo pilot. Having formerly worked for the communications department at McMurdo, it's no surprise that Bob LOVES radios.

To give you an idea how much gear we had for our little 2-week camping/diving trip, this is how much gear DIDN'T fit into the first helo.

The helicopter technician Nick - doing his best impression of Vanna White from "The Wheel of Fortune" -did a fantastic job cramming most of our gear onto the bird. He attributed his packing skills to many hours playing the video game "Tetris".

We flew back to McMurdo with a pilot and helicopter from New Zealand. Who ever said Kiwis couldn't fly?

We had a fine day to fly, despite the anxiety of a fog bank enveloping camp on the morning of our departure. We could see far out onto the sea ice, including a view of these spectacular tabular ice bergs.

We arrived back to the station in a jiffy, loaded our mountain of gear up into a pickup (the helicopter crews that help us do this HATE to see us coming..), then unloaded all of the gear using the "Irish dumptruck" maneuver. For those of you not familiar with this term, it involves driving in reverse at high speed, then slamming on the brake, thereby depositing all items in the truck bed onto the ground (I can say this because I'm Irish - not that I've ever done it personally. OK - we didn't REALLY do that with our expensive gear, but we unloaded it almost as quickly in our rush to the shower.

The next line of business was bee-lining for the nearest shower (sorry, no pictures allowed here). To give you an idea of how dirty we were, I personally had to lather, rinse, and repeat multiple times before anything resembling the texture of clean hair emerged from the dirty mop on top of my head. And I only have an inch of hair! Those poor dread-locked women!

Lets see the next day!