I never thought I’d be so happy to see a plane as I was today when Skier 96, P024 landed to take me away from here. It’s been a good winter, not as good as my last one, but then we were a very special crew back in 2002. My replacement just got in on Saturday, so it’s been a very intense past 48 hours trying to bring him up to speed on changes since he last left, and then to get all the last minute preparations done that I needed to do to leave. Packages had to be mailed, documentation had to be written, and my room had to get a good cleaning for the next person.
The flight to New Zealand was amazingly easy. The C-130 flight out of Pole got us to McMurdo in little less than it’s normal time of three hours, and then we had about three or four hours available to hang out in Mactown. I spent it looking up friends that I knew were there, and filling up on freshies before being given the typical squashed sandwich that they provide on the outbound flights.
The final flight to NZ from McMurdo was on a C-17 cargo plane. I’d never been on one of these before, and it was HUGE. There were only six passengers, the crew and no cargo on our flight, so we had plenty of room to all stretch out. The crew even dragged out sleeping bags and spent the flight watching movies on their laptops plugged into the power points on the plane. I’d take that over a first class 747 any day!
We finished all the arrival formalities around 2:00 am, and then it was straight off to bed for me. I love the feeling right now of knowing that tomorrow I could go anywhere in the world and it would be totally OK. I’m headed to Australia on Friday, but first it’s going to be a full week of chores, including getting PQ’ed for Palmer station.