Monday, January 26, 2009

...So what's my verdict on my first Antarctic Season?

I sit here in the computer room in building 155 in McMurdo finding it hard to believe that I just spent 6 weeks at a remote field camp. I already find that I'm asking myself..."Was I really just there?" It's a similar feeling I had the first few days back from thru-hiking the Appalchian Trail. "Did I really just spend 107 days hiking?" It does seem a little surreal now that I have unlimited internet access, warmer weather, and now open sea less than a mile away. A lot has changed since the last time I was here. An ice breaker has been in and so what was once a giant slab of sea ice, is now open water. I took a stroll this morning to try and spot a penguin...but no luck yet. I guess the important question now is.....what did I think?

From a personal science perspective, this season for me by default had to be a slightly disappointing simply because I was only able to obtain samples the last week and half of my stint at WAIS. I made up for it by doing some smaller projects like snow pits, surface studies, ice core chip studies, and by helping other scientists. As far as an overall experience, I thought it was an incredible season. We had phenominal weather at WAIS (Almost 4 weeks of sunshine). I was surrounded for 6 weeks by some of the greatest people I've ever met. From a project perspective, we were able to drill enough ice core to surpass our two goals of hitting 1500 meters, and getting past the brittle ice. Putting my 3+ week New Zealand adventure aside (which starts officially tomorrow), I would definitely rank this experience a 9 out of 10. The only thing that made it shy of a 10, was my experience in McMurdo when I first got here.

I have made a lot of friends down here which I know I will stay in touch with for a long time...and will probably see many times down the road.

......and so we get to it......the most popular question asked of me the past 3 days, "Are you coming back next year, John?"

....................Let's just say, that I'll get back to you on that. :-)


No comments: