Saturday, October 6, 2012

Mike is Off the Ice!

I have soared to New Zealand.

238 days of an Antarctic Winter!

In the land of the Kiwis.

A final Antarctic sunset.

I have never seen a sunset halo before!

How cool is that!

When leaving McMurdo we go to the transportation building with all our bags.

Follow the instructions.

My two large duffel bags and three bags containing Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) gear.

Ivan the Terra Bus art.
A ride to the sea ice runway on Ivan the Terra Bus.

I was disappointed not to be riding back on the C-17 but the view from this Airbus was fantastic. Plus the pilot left the cockpit door open the entire flight and invited us to "join the crew". What a view!

A final view of Hut Point, Observation Hill, and Mt. Erebus from the sea ice runway.

Waiting for the incoming passengers to disembark.

It's time to board.

I guess I'm ready.

Plenty of legroom at the exit seat...

...and plenty of room in front and...

behind...only 15 passengers. Nice flight.


The view was beautiful.

The edge of the continent surrounded by several miles of sea ice.

The end of the sea ice.

New green. Looks like Hawaii.

Didn't get to downtown Christchurch until late so ate in the hotel bar. My first meal was a grilled cheese and pineapple sandwich with fresh New Zealand cheese and pineapple...delicious... along with two DB Draft beers!

Brighton Beach hostel.

600 feet from the beach with a nice view of the South Pacific from the 2nd floor rooms.

Speight's and surf...a great combination.

A library on the beach!

How cool...the library, beach walk, and pier.

This area reminds me of my hometown of Oxnard, California looking north to Ventura.

Back where I belong...the ocean.

The Dux brewery. My favorite was Nor'wester.

I had the mushroom with dried figs pizza. Delicious.

The ice crew meeting a last time.

We then went to the Pedal Pusher Bar with bicycle designed furnishings. This is a saddle bar stool.

Not really comfortable. I wonder how many people have fallen off after a few too many.

Cool lighting.

More cool lighting.

Coat rack.

Sunday morning Brighton Beach.

My last update from Point Break Backpacker's Cafe.
As I write this I am thinking about the last eight months of my life in the Antarctic. It was such a totally awesome experience and I really hope to return someday. I would love to hike to the South Pole from McMurdo a distance of 830 miles. A dream trip for sure.

I would like to thank my wonderful wife, Andrea, for her understanding and support during this adventure along with thanking my children, Cary and Jocelyn, for picking up on the household chores and helping their mom around the house and keeping her company. Also thanks to the neighbors for their help when things broke around the house.

It is interesting to look at the demographic statistics of this blog. The second highest number of hits has come from Russia. I spent five months (1998) in St. Petersburg, Russia working with the Russian Space Company Energia while the Sea Launch vessels were being equipped with rocket launch equipment. I would like to hear from you. Anyone else that would like to comment or have questions about this adventure please email me at:

Well, my Antarctic Adventure is over but I don't have to go home.
The adventure continues with Jocelyn:

My last two pictures to share with you are before and after. Thanks everyone for reading!

Before: Castle Rock, Antarctica April 2012
After: Sumner Beach, New Zealand October 7, 2012