Despite severe tiredness and the impending doom of 35 hours of travelling (culminating with the M25, at rush hour, on the Friday before Christmas!!) the entire team are busy packing. Our personal kit is lying like a layer of dust across two dormitories and the group kit has filled the landing, the hall and the garden. Slowly it is being sorted, packed and labelled so that at later today we are ready to head for Punta Arenas airport. From there we will fly to Santiago, then to Madrid, then onto Heathrow, arriving at about 16.30 tomorrow. However, even once we are back in the UK it’s not home time; we’re heading straight to Portsmouth for physiological testing all day on Saturday. Finally, once the testing is over, the team will, for the first time in 53 days, head their separate ways.
As we prepare to fly back to the UK it is time for me to reflect on what we have achieved. After 8 days of delay due to the bad weather I am heading my way back to the UK arriving back at Heathrow tomorrow. Despite the recent bad weather and confinement to our tents I am glad to say that it has been a fantastic experience. My top three moments have been:
1) Stepping off the plane in Antarctica on the 10th of November and getting a big hug from Carolyn, our expedition leader. Finally after almost two years of preparations I had made it to Antarctica. Thanks to all of you who have supported me and made it possible.
2) Speaking to students on the phone on the 4th of December. The whole ethos of the expedition is to encourage more young people to take an interest in science and Geography. Actually speaking to students who asked some excellent questions made me feel that we were achieving that.
3) The Twin Otter flight into Henderson Glacier on the 16th of November. Getting a view from the air for 20 minutes of the vast expanse of the Antarctica made me feel humble. I have come to learn over the last week that this is one of the few places in the world where mother nature is still in control.
I am hoping that my top moment number 4 will be getting on the plane later today and making it back to the UK in time for Christmas to be with friends and family. I am really looking forward to seeing you all.
I will be travelling for most of tomorrow getting back to London and then straight down to Portsmouth for a full day of testing (yes more sitting in a freezer!). Thank you for all your messages including Bob, Sue, Andy, Chris and Susan. I hope Y12 have mastered nearest neighbour analysis and that the Christmas decorations look good. Finally, Happy Birthday today to Matthew 9WW and Alice 8IA.