Home Again

It was a strange feeling to realize that’s how I think of Antarctica: home. Of all places. I realized I was calling it “home” when I was talking to the oceanographer sitting next to me as we rode Ivan the Terra Bus back from the runway to McMurdo (Ivan was repaired, obviously, since catching fire on Tuesday morning). It was his first trip to McMurdo, though he’s been to Palmer Station, on the Chilean side of the continent, many times.

So yeah, I guess I’m home, at least until October when I will look for a new home (again). In the meantime, right after arriving, I walked down to Hut Point to see if the penguin or the icebreaker Oden were visible. Both were… the penguin was even closer to shore, wandering around the ice and then jumping into a slushy hole to dive for fish, coming back up to look at us (me, Anna and my roommate Natalie) as if to say “oh, are you still here? You don’t expect me to do anything cute, do you? Because quite frankly I’m tired of being adorable on demand.”

The penguin (foreground) watching the approach of Oden (horizon)... or maybe just trying to ignore the pesky humans

As for Oden, the ship is neither cute nor adorable, but it is impressive, chugging along on the horizon, ever closer.

Oden on the horizon, which gave me the nearly uncontrollable urge to shout "OOOOOOODEEEEEN!" like Buliwyf did in "The 13th Warrior." Only the nearby presence of the penguin restrained me.

It should be here today or tomorrow, followed by the research vessel Palmer and then the supply ship. And, hopefully, whales and more penguins.

We landed yesterday, by the way, to experience a balmy 31 degrees Fahrenheit. Just 45 or so degrees cooler than Sumner, a beach town outside Christchurch where I spent my last “real world” hours before returning to the Ice.

Shag Rock at Sumner, where I walked barefoot in the surf long enough to get a slight sunburn. Slightly different than the place I call home.


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