Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Landed in McMurdo

Landed at Pegasus field about 20 minutes outside of McMurdo. The sea-ice runway was closed due to melting. I don't know what it is about those LC-130's but it's really a great flight--with the exception of the noise, but you wear earplugs. Take off and landing are so smooth. Maybe it's the ski's.

We landed right by Mt. Erebus, which is a huge active volcano. When we landed, it was spitting off steam from its summit. It was really beautiful. After a short wait for the shuttle and a 20 minute or so drive, we got back to McMurdo. Last time I was here there was a lot more snow on the ground. It was above freezing, which by the way felt like the middle of summer to me, and so most of the pathways had melted. Also the frozen sea around Ross island had started to melt which allowed GIGANTIC seals to sun themselves. These were huuuuge! I've seen the elephant seals of the californian coast (near San Louis Obisbo) but these seemed waaay bigger! It was quite a sight. After trekking back from Discovery hut, Jamie (the other team member who flew back with me) and I climbed one of the hills by the base. It was about an 800 ft climb--not too bad, but really steep. It was just incredible to be able to walk uphill without being winded. Hooray for sea level!

Anyway, I've got to take my bags over to redeployment to get weighed. Off I go!

Tomorrow night I should arrive in Christchurch, then Auckland, then LAX! Hooooooray!

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