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12 May, 2000

Travel to United States, Future Plans for 022 Last journal entry, no more questions : ( We arrived in Miami tired and groggy and collected our luggage to see it through customs. The people who were supposed to show up to replenish the starfish's ice were late, so the science group members gradually left as their different connecting flight times approached. Bill and Bruce to Melbourne, FL. Katrin, Chuck and Andy to Birmingham, AL. Finally it was only myself and Rob Edwards, the Raytheon Lab Operations Supervisor, left watching the starfish crate. When I had to leave, the blue ice had not yet arrived. Because of the multiple changes made to the plane reservations in the last two weeks trying to guess the day we would be back in Punta Arenas, there was a bit of confusion when I checked in at the American Airlines desk for my next flight. They didn't have a record for me at all! Eventually my tickets in hand convinced them that I really did have a reservation and I was in the air again, this time alone. All the way to Seattle I lucked out with three seats across the center of the plane to myself. I slept the flight away. I arrived in Anchorage at 4pm local time, having been in transit for around 33 hours. Seeing and smelling green growing things is still a surprise. It is good to be home! Many OAEs (old antarctic explorers) that I spoke with before my own trip mentioned how much of a shock returning to civilization was for them. I never experienced any of that, possibly because of the gradual reentry from station, to ship, to a small rural town, to medium-sized airports and finally to larger cities over a period of several days. Those who return by air from Pole and McMurdo are plunked more directly from a very insular, regimented community to the capital city of New Zealand within 9 hours. The other members of Science Group SO-022 will spend the next year and a half working in the lab on chemical analysis and biological assays of the specimens we brought back from our field season. They will attend meetings and will work on scientific papers, presentations, and grant proposals for future research while I teach my 7th graders, give presentations, attend meetings, write arcticles and create classroom activities based on my time on the ice. They will return for a second field season at Palmer in late October of 2001 without me. Check it out on their website-- http://www.wow.uab.edu/antarctica2001/ To all who emailed me during my field time and let me know the positive impact the journals were having --A huge THANK YOU. It really encouraged me and made a difference! I hope everyone who reads some or all of these journals will feel that they have been brought a little closer to The Ice. Answer 82:The Channichthyidae, also called ice fishes, have been caught at 100-700 meters of depth. They are predacious, with strong teeth in large jaws and are generally larger than most other Antarctic fishes. They are the only adult vertebrates known whose blood does not include hemoglobin. They do have a very small number of red blood cells, but without hemoglobin in them. Apparently they are able to survive this way because the Southern Ocean is so well oxygenated and the ice fishes' metabolic rate in the cold water is very low. In addition, they have a high volume of blood, a larger heart, larger blood vessels and larger gills than other fishes. Oxygen may also diffuse through their scaleless skin.


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