26 November, 1997
Shackleton 11/26/97 My last day at Siple Dome began early in the morning with a wake up call for the plane ride to McMurdo. We were suppose to leave last night but the weather prevented the plane from taking off so we slept inside in a Jamesway. The Navy personnel were great about staying over night since they could not see what was on the ground or ahead of them here nor could they land at McMurdo last night and as it turned out early in the morning. I got to go out to the C130 and sit in the pilot's seat and talk to a pilot. Jun Lee was the pilot from the night before who landed our plane. He allowed me to get my picture taken in the cockpit and on the instrument panel. It was really neat. The C130 is a cargo plane and because we were on ice it was on skis. Looks like a bird from the side which made me hungry. When we flew out of Siple Dome the sky below us was filled with clouds. The clouds looked like small waves in water. It was kind of neat to see as we flew on for the two hours. As we approached Mc Murdo, the TransAntarctic mountains could be see above the cloud cover on the left and the top Mt.Erabus could be seen on the right. Above the clouds the plume from Mt. Erabus could be seen clearly as it gently blew straight into the sky. The top of the volcano was covered in snow and it reminded me of pictures that I had once seen in a book on volcanoes. Antarctica at its very best was being presented to us above the clouds before we landed. We were leaving behind great people that we had met and got to know alittle bit. I enjoyed my stay at Siple Dome and think the people there are the greatest. Because of that I have a request from my friends back home that are reading this message. Please write the people at Siple Dome or send them a post card for Christmas. They are a long way from home and would really like to get mail from everyone. Send the cards and letters to: Siple Dome Camp % Lin Denham ASA McMurdo Siple Dome PSC 469 BOX 700 APO AP 96599 - 5700 If you include your address, some of them may even write back like a pen pal. Shutey 11/26/97 As I leave Siple Dome, I can reflect on the beauty of the ice field and the glory of Mother Nature. It is really a unique experience to have stayed in a tent on an ice field that is nearly 1000 meters thick. To be able to see the Sun Dogs, the sun at all hours of the day still shining brightly and the colors of blue mixed with the ice and the sky is breath taking in its self. I can't forget the nights of howling winds and blowing snow and waking to question my sanity of being in a tent in this kind of storm only to get up in the morning realizing it is a great honor to be here with the clothing, transportation and support that we have. Who can forget the white ground and sky mixing so that all topography seems flat and that there is no horizon or dividing line between the earth and sky? To be counted among the few that get to actually go out on the ice and see its glory while still being relatively comfortable all the time is a marvel and a compliment to our science community. It is because of past explorers like Scott, Amunson and Shackleton that we have longed to go to Antarctica and the scientist that are here that enables us to modify Antarctica's climate to fit our needs and make us comfortable. This experience is one that I will never forget. I need to thank the National Science Foundation for making it happen for me and Dr. Mary Albert for taking me along on her project. I also need to thank Stephanie Shipp and Sam, who's last name escapes me, along with Rice University for the computer support and general support. Your kindness will not be forgotten. I think that this has been one of the most exciting things that I have ever done. I hope that I will be able to share my experiences and a joy of the science and the beauty that goes with Antarctica with my students and friends where ever they are. This has been a pleasure to share my journey with you, the reader, and I hope that you have enjoyed going to Antarctica with me and Shackleton.Return to E. Shackleton Bear's Page
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