Hard to Believe, But…

A couple days ago, my boss casually mentioned that there were a mere 99 days to go until WinFly… WinFly, as you may recall, is the week of winter flights that bring the vanguard of summer employees to McMurdo. I arrived on the second flight of WinFly last year.

And today, we received an email from the contactor’s headquarters in Colorado regarding early redeployment information… redeployment as in leaving the Ice. I won’t know until later in the winter whether I’ll be leaving at WinFly in August or at the beginning of Main Body in October – the latter is more likely, but it all depends on summer staffing.

I have mixed emotions about these reminders that I will be leaving Antarctica within months. I’m excited, because there are a lot of things I want to do, from getting my novel published one way or another (sounds rather threatening, doesn’t it?) to swimming with Great White Sharks in South Africa or hiking Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor. But it makes me sad, too, because this is such a special place.

Even though it’s dark all the time now, and the expansive views of the mountains and ice shelf are hidden from me, I can still feel that sentient presence of Antarctica I first experienced as I stepped off the C17 back in August. I will miss this place, but fortunately I’m not leaving yet.

Here, by the way, is a photo I meant to post a while ago…. the official WinterOver family portrait. Clicking on it should allow you to “embiggen” it…

Taken in early March, when it was still light for a long spell each day, the 151 brave souls of McMurdo's WinterOver 2011 crew. I'm in the back, roughly just right (your right) of the middle.

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