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  Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Today the group in McMurdo washed the clothes we had worn at WAIS. Some garments (like our fleece pants) we had worn for one or two weeks straight, so they really needed it. Boy, we really appreciate the benefits of a real washing machine now! Then we checked in our sleeping gear (tents, sleeping bags, air mattresses, etc.) to the Berg Field Center where we had borrowed it. Jerome and Jennifer also checked in with NSF to finalize our travel plans for the journey back home. Unfortunately, Abdul�s plane was cancelled so he did not arrive today.

We also saw the patient who was on the plane with us yesterday. He had been dismissed from the hospital and was looking as if he felt much better. His wife told us he could go back to work at WAIS next week if he continued to improve. We all felt good knowing that he was so much better today after having had medical treatment.

We were told that the group left at WAIS had finished the final depth sounder run and were packing today.

Prasad and David caught the plane to Christchurch around noon, while Jerome and Jennifer took a shuttle down to Scott Base. Scott Base is a research station run by New Zealand. It is much smaller than McMurdo and the only place you can go without an invitation is their store. They had some very nice things at the store, but the prices were too high for our pocketbooks.

While riding down to Scott Base, the shuttle driver told us that the Russian translator who was escorting some of the sailors from the icebreaker, Krasin, had told him that they were giving tours of the icebreaker today, and only today. So we walked down to the ship. There was no indication of any tour when we got there, so we rode back in the shuttle with some of the Russian officers and their wives. A couple of the men had a few words of English which was more than our group had in Russian. Smiles were exchanged as the Russians went off to explore Scott Base while our group headed back into Mac town, as it is affectionately called.

Jennifer headed over to the library and was quite impressed with the facility and the breadth of their collection. They have a regular check-out library supplemented with take-away paperbacks that are donated by people at the station who have finished reading them. It was much bigger and nicer than one would expect way out here in Antarctica.

There were a few seals in evidence, but still no penguins to be seen. Could it be that we will have to leave Antarctica without seeing any penguins? We certainly hope not!

NOTE: This was the entire journal entry, not just page 1.

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