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1 April, 2003

This morning I got up early because I had to finish packing and taking care of some other minor chores before I left to go to the airport. My aunt, Ann Yarbrough, called me at 6:30 AM to ask me if I had the morning news on. I told her that I did not and asked her what was going on. She said that the airport had been closed and was supposed to be closed until about 3 PM. I started thinking, "Oh, no!" because my flight was to leave around 1 PM. I asked her what had happened. She told me that the television news wasn't saying, but that they would give more details as soon as they could. I told her I guess I'd better be getting in touch with Dr. McClintock and Dr. Amsler, the co-principal investigators, in the research team I am working with, because I would be missing all of my flights for the day due to this situation. Then, she said, "April Fool's Day!" I was so relieved, I just laughed.

I flew from Birmingham, Alabama to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. We flew over the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River is one of the world's major river systems in size, habitat diversity, and biological productivity. It is the longest river in North America and the third longest in the world. Mississippi is an Ojibwa word meaning, "great river." It is second only to the Amazon River in watershed area.

A watershed is all the water that flows into a parcticular flowing freshwater body.

From Dallas, I took a flight to Miami, Florida. My aunt told me I was going to see more of the US than Antarctica! On the flight to Miami, we flew over Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana. Lake Pontchartrain is one of North America's largest estuaries. An estuary is a body of water that has freshwater and saltwater mixed together. Flora (plants) and fauna (animals) that live in an estuary can survive in no other marine habitat. The Choctaws called Lake Pontchartrain, "wide water" The Canadian explorer D'Iberville in honor of the French Minister of Marine named it. D'Iberville was hired by the French government to find the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico.

Both bodies of water are beautiful from the air, but pictures would not have come out.

Next, I will take a flight from Miami, Florida to Santiago, Chile. It will be uneventful because it is going to be an overnight flight and I am going to catch up on my sleep!

Catch me tomorrow to see how my day has gone on my week long journey to Palmer Station, Anver's Island, Antarctica.

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