18 December, 2000
FYI answer for 12/17/00
The sun will be the highest in the sky over Antarctica on December 21st. The "darkless" nights will start to return to Antarctica around late February.
Now it is all a memory, locked into my thoughts and photos and words in my journals. Antarctica is no longer a strange place to me, but it is still an unbelievable place. I stood on such a small portion of a world that very few have or will ever see. I have no regrets. I would go again. I am so glad that you all joined me for this scientific and educational journey. It was adventurous, physically and mentally challenging, inspiring and fun.
All of us in B-009 arrived at the staging area dressed in our ECW gear and carrying our one orange bag this morning at 0730. We boarded a ride that would take us out to the runway called Willey Field. It is located on the ice shelf, and the planes have skies for taking off and landing. This was an eight hour flight, not a five hour one like I had over a month and a half ago. This plane flies slower, but it has more leg room. We departed at 0905. I slept on and off during the flight. They gave us ear plugs again because it is so loud in the plane. It isn't easy to talk to each other then either. I did ask to go up it the cockpit, and they let me. I looked around and took a few pictures and left. Like I said, it's too noisy to talk to each other. They all wear head sets with microphones to communicate.
Our flight landed at 1630 or so. I had worn a pair of jeans under my coveralls and I kept my walking shoes in my carry on, so as soon as I stepped off the plane, I took off the bunny boots and coveralls. It was cloudy, windy, and very warm and humid. It felt so strange. We all took off our coats and I just stood looking at all the green. The took us off in buses to go through customs, becase we were entering the country again, and we loaded off to the CDC to check back in our ECW gear and get the things we left behind. I don't feel like it is over yet. I still will come back here to finish paper work tomorrow, but once I walked out of the CDC without that gear it started to feel real.
I went to Antarctica as a teacher to experience science in the extreme of the harsh continent. I shivered in the cold, was awed by the grand glaciers, was educated by the stories and experiences and was humbled by the seals. I am coming home as a student with new knowledge. I will use it to fascinate many, but hope to encourage more, to dream and to reach, for there is a world of questions to be answered, and anyone of you could seek to find those answers. It is all a matter of taking the risk. I couldn't have enjoyed this more without all of you who have joined my for the adventure of my lifetime. Science is everywhere. . . especially Antarctica.
Science research, even in Antarctica, begins and continues because of ideas and questions.
Think of an Idea or Ask a Question
Research your topic and Make a Hypothesis
Plan your Experinment
Do the Experinment
Collect and Record Data
Draw Conclusions and Ask further Questions
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