20 December, 2001
Alas, I have arrived at McMurdo Station. Upon disembarking the airplane, I was shocked by how warm it was. To prevent sweating any further, it was necessary to strip off my Extreme Cold Weather gear. The heat from the sun felt so good on my windburned face. A smile emerged from my chapped lips and I thought, "The first segment of my journey home was complete, now getting off of the ice is the next hurdle to overcome."
Since the weather is so warm, I joined some other folks in walking around McMurdo. Compared to the South Pole, McMurdo is like a city. However, with an increase in population comes an increase in noise. Under assult from the noise, we decided to retreat to the quieter places around the station.
Our first visit was to one of Scott's Huts located within walking distance of our dorms. The hut was interesting, due to its historical value, and even still smelled of burnt seal blubber. After securing the hut, we climbed up Observatory Hill to get a better perspective of McMurdo. The climb was steep and a little challenging, for the sharp volcanic rocks constantly threatened to cause a fall. However, the views were spectacular...Mt. Erebus, Mt. Terror, and Mt. Discovery all looming in the background.
Since the sea ice is currently too soft to support aircraft, we had to take Ivan the TerraBus to a remote ice runway. The one and a half hour ride to the Pegasus air runway, located on a permanant iceshelf, was disappointing. One of the engines of the plane that was to transport us off of the ice was smoking. At 1:30 am, we were told that the flight had to be cancelled. The disappointment on everyone's faces said it all. Our greatest fear, being stuck on the ice for Christmas, is becoming a reality.
The long ride back to McMurdo was filled with long stares, each person reflecting their desire to get home in the windows of Ivan. The man I was sitting next to, Ken, was the physician's assistant at the South Pole. He broke the tension by placing a latex glove over his head and blowing it up. Although I found it funny, I kept thinking to myself, "Tomorrow is my last chance to get off the ice..."
Saturated Oxygen: 100%
Pulse Rate: 56
Temperature: 35 F
Windchill 25 F
(No further biological data or weather data will be posted)
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