On Tuesday, 15 December, Mark and I finally got out of the “WAISland.”
The schedule originally called for a Herc coming to WAIS at 1:30 am on Wednesday morning (16 Dec). Everyone at camp was concerned about that because the forecast was predicting a storm to hit the camp right around the time that Herc would be landing.
The schedule was thrown out the window by late Tuesday morning. Jim, a heavy equipment operator, broke his leg mid-Tuesday morning. As is standard protocol, Jim needed to be medically evacuated (what is known as a “med evac”) out of WAIS and to proper health care in Christchurch, New Zealand. Given the circumstances, the Herc that was originally scheduled to go to another field camp that afternoon was rescheduled to come to WAIS. It arrived at WAIS at 4:15 pm, and Mark, myself, Jim, and 4 others boarded to Herc to go back to McMurdo. It’s a shame that it took a med evac to get us out of WAIS, but with Christmas fast approaching, we were also happy to be on our way home. I hope Jim has a speedy recovery.
We got into McMurdo around 10 pm that night. By 10 am Wednesday morning I was on a Herc northbound for McMurdo, with Jim on board as well. On Thursday morning, I was departing Christchurch to begin the long journey back home to Madison, WI.
And just like that, our portion of the field season concluded. We went from thinking we were going to be stranded at WAIS for Christmas to getting home in the blink of an eye. Overall, it was another exciting field season for me, with some really cool sites seen and some satisfying field work accomplished.
Lee and Carol should be getting to the ice between Christmas and New Year’s. I’ll let them take over from here.