Sunday, February 25, 2007

Flags, planes and champagne

Emily, Fiona and I wrestle on boots, coats and thrust our hands into fleecy lined pockets for the 3 Minuit walk to the container/lab. Inside we holt in our tracks and consider how to conserve corroded tins of Angus Marrow Fat that after thawing have started to leak. We listen to "Scott FM" which anyone can contribute to. We are planning a coup but decide improvisation is better and last weeks singing ensembles were "Show me the way to Amarillo" and the Back Street Boys. Today was a tribute to Kylie with "Can get you out of my head" complete with dance moves from "Little Miss Sunshine"...

This is all while we consider how to deal with the smell of the dremel drill heating up the fat if we decide to empty them.

There have been many things happen on Base this week. First we celebrated the manager hand-over from Mike to Glenn and this was a ceremony involving the flag. As is tradition the youngest person on Base hoists the new flag and Mike gets to keep the old one. Glenn can have what's left of the winter one in October. It was very exciting for Emily being the youngest at 26 and she brought the Summer flag down avoiding the ground, apparently very bad luck and hoisted the new one with a joke about putting it upside down.

This was followed by a small party.

On Saturday the last plane was due to fly out and I accompanied Nathan and Mike in a Hagglund out to the airstrip to witness a hot landing - one where they keep the motor running. The rest of Scott Base went over to McMurdo for the last plane "Toast".

We watch the plane land, load up with a 100 Americans and take off again. I hear an American accent over the VHF "Winter has begun" as the plane lifts off. The plane then banks right slowly in the poor visibility and flys over the base and waves it's wings to all enjoying the Champagne at McMurdo....

It was good to wave the plane good bye and to accept that this is it, we're here and stuck by choice. The next plane I see will be in six months.

We also enjoyed a Champagne Breakfast on Sunday to celebrate Winter in case anyone had missed that point. A population of 20, this is the largest group to winter over since Hilary in 1957 and the most women at six.

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