Geoff Sims @ UNSW
Home South Pole Diaries 2012/13 28th January, 2013


Monday, 28th January, 2013

The Ross Island Yacht Club of Antarctica (John)

This morning began on a somber note as I paid my last respects to the Canadian crew of the Twin Otter that crashed on Mount Elizabeth last week.

The Canadian flag flies at the geographical south pole in memory of the Twin Otter crew.

After lunch an LC130 Hercules finally arrived to take us back out to McMurdo. Dressed up once more in our ECW gear, we huddled around like a flock of emperor penguins, saying our final goodbyes while the plane offloaded and reloaded cargo, and refueled.

Waiting to board. The orange bags contain all of our currently accessible worldly possessions, and have done so for five days now.

The wooden markers define a path to the Hercules that avoids the propeller blades. All four engines run continuously while the plane is on the ground at Pole, so alighting from and entering the plane requires more than the usual caution.

A few hours later we're in McMurdo. There's mud and slush everywhere, and as it's the first time we've seen mud for nearly a month it looks particularly gross. We're issued with keys (huh?) to our rooms, and try to adapt back to living in the real world.

Fortunately today is the last Monday of the month, so it's time for a meeting of the Ross Island Yacht Club of Antarctica. (McMurdo is actually situated on Ross Island, rather than the main landmass of Antarctica, although it is permanently connected to it by ice.) These meetings are held in Hut 10, a very pleasant self-contained house that was formerly reserved for military officers and VIPs. After a very pleasant evening of chat and watching a delightful home video of sailing adventures to the Bahamas in a 27-foot yacht, I find that I am now a member of one of the world's more unusual yacht clubs (they don't have any yachts, for example), as well as my home club at the Hawkesbury River.

The club burgee, depicting Shackleton and his men.

Fellow sailors, socialising.

The Commodore, Deanny, accepts a small gift from his members.

We'll spend a day in McMurdo cleaning our field camp gear (tents etc.) and returning it to the stores. This task is complicated somewhat by the fact that we are in McMurdo and all our stuff is still at South Pole, a problem that only a Hercules can resolve.


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