Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Que Sera Sera

I think today may be the day we actually get to leave South Pole. We have 4 flights scheduled for today and this morning, the temperature is -49.4C (-56.9F), which is just under the required minimum temp for the LC-130s to land here. To open the station 10 days late is not the record (12 days late in 1998) but for those of us who thought we'd leave a week ago, it's long enough.

Coincidentally, today marks the 50th anniversary of the very first flight here at South Pole, in a modified DC-3 similar to the Basler that came through here a week and a half ago. The first plane, the Que Sera Sera piloted by Gus Shinn, landed here on Oct 31, 1956 at 8:34pm. It stayed on the ground for only 49 minutes before laboriously taking off again, but helped launch a new era of human habitation at the bottom of the world.

And so on this historic day, I hope we make our own history 50 years later and fly away from this frozen world, looking back at the endless ice plateau as Mr. Shinn must have done with wonder and awe. I still feel amazement at this place and am still captivated by the vast emptiness, the auroras, the crunch of the snow as you walk around. I hope to never lose that feeling, despite whatever people and politics pollute the environment here. It's still a special place that holds a certain magic for me, which is a good thing since I'm coming back for a 4th winter in January.

I'm gambling again by signing off from South Pole and hope to write the next post from some internet cafe in Christchurch or Sydney or Bangkok or beyond.


At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Tara said...

via Jeff's blog

Let us know if you're heading to Sydney. I could show you around. It would be great to meet a real Polie in the flesh!

At 6:10 AM, Blogger Neal said...

You made it out. Have a good summer and I'll probably be seeing you in a few months....

At 10:05 AM, Blogger Heidi said...

We're indeed heading to Sydney, probably sometime next week. If you're really keen on meeting real Polies, we could meet up, but we'll have to learn how to shower daily again before that so we don't scare you too badly.

At 1:18 AM, Blogger skua76 said...

Congrats on making it north. Here's hoping the rest of your travels are great fun!


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