Damn, that was fast.
With the Aurora Australis due into Davis at around 1pm local time, all of a sudden its time to go home.
**4am presently and I can’t sleep , mostly cos the guy directly across the corridor to me snores like a goddamned elephant seal and has done so for months (snorers can burn in Hell along with chatty moviegoers and mouthbreathers).
It’s also that pre-trip jitters thing – excitement mixed in with a little uncertainty – that’s woken me up this early (also the Internet is fantastically fast at this time of the morning I gotta say)
Anyway… skip to 3pm… the Aurora has just pulled into the Bay.
There’s a lot of mixed emotions today, from everyone. Strong emotions are bubbling. Sadness, joy, excitement, frustration, disappointment. A touch of melancholy has settled over the population and there is a subtle shift in mood.
It’s the restlessness of an airport transit lounge or a train station. Stuck in limbo between staying and going.
Goodbyes and waving and hugs but still waiting waiting waiting.
Personally I’ve used this trip as a learning experience mainly and a step to other things – have kept people at arms length on purpose. IT people are good at it and it’s an effective armor.
I’ll miss a few people but I’ll miss the landscape, the animals but most of all the stillness and silence of this place. It’s still something I lack but I’m getting better at it.
Plus goodbyes really suck at the best of times. Best not to get close.
Anyway, most of us are packing, cleaning out dongas ( rooms), taking a last stroll or a final photo before committing to the journey home.
80 strangers have become friends and family over the past few months. Such an odd crew.
It really is such a unique experience and I feel privileged to have been a part of it.
Some people may never return ( for various reasons) and this could well be a once in lifetime experience for many. This reality is sinking in now as the big orange Uber makes its way slowly to our point of embarcation just inside the reef.
The Winter crew – a small group staying on over the bleak Antarctic winter – can’t wait for us to go so they can start their own program.
So… there’s about an hour before we catch the 2 barges out to the ship and then once we’re aboard, that’s it for Internet and decent Comms with the outside world ( except for the inescapable Email).
What remains of this journey is two weeks at sea in the beautiful Southern ocean, a journey that almost makes up for having to leave this beautiful place.
See u in 2 weeks!