Station closing came early this year. We were working out at DSL on the afternoon of the 13th when rumors started to make the rounds among the SPT crew that the Station would close early, due to poor weather approaching the Pole. One day can make a huge difference with the tight schedule at the South Pole and a mild panic set in among the beekers.
BICEP was in good shape. Cynthia and I just had to tighten a number of screws that had come lose on the telescope mount. We spent a few hours until 1 in the morning, doing a contortionist act around the telescope, before heading back to the Station for a quick celebration with some of the SPT folks.
I got a few hours of sleep in before seeing people off on the first flight of the day. Some of the beekers who had pulled an all-nighter looked truly awful. Between flights I started to move to my new room. There was a mild chaos around Station, people running around on last minute errands. To add to the chaos the last flight suddenly touched down at 1 instead of 1:30. Another precious half hour gone. One guy was running around to locate his red parka.
Once skier 93 was on the ground it was just a sea of red parkas. People hugging everywhere and posing for last minute group shots. Soon they were ushered onto the plane. A few stragglers came running from the Station. Nobody wants to miss that last plane.
The plane took off to cheers of the gathered winter-overs. We do love our summer colleagues dearly, but it is always nice to see them leave.
Traditionally the last plane does a flyover and we weren’t disappointed this year. The Herc tipped its wings on the second pass to say goodbye and flew off into the sun towards McMurdo.