6 November, 1999
Saturday November 6, 1999
I had set the alarm for 0400 hours; but, around 0345 hours there was a knock on my door. All I heard was : "wakie wakie, shut off you alarm, close your eyes I'm going to put the light on, the flight has been delayed until 0900 hours, go back to bed". I managed to open my eyes and there in his white terry cloth bathrobe stood the hotel owner. He truly is great. I could hear him going door to door with the same message.
I could not go back to sleep so I got up and "screwed around" with my computer battery. Now it says 100%. I have no idea why, and maybe its not real, but, it has reduced my anxiety a tad. Worked until 0730 hours, went to breakfast with Barb and Ethan Chatfield, a graduate student from Boulder, Colorado. Came back to the room to pack and there is a call over the PA, "flight now delayed until1300 hours". Barb stopped by and said she wanted to go to the CDC and send letters of regrets and congratulations to those who volunteered for our program. We were at the CDC within the hour.
We are not the most organized pair in the world. It seems she never put a copy of the letters that I had written on her computer, and of course my personal computer was some 9,000 miles away. Damn, I hate redoing things that I already had spent a lot of time writing. It's like reinventing the wheel. Life is too short and I have too much to do. Oh well, it must be done.
We rewrote the letters and then using the list the Steve Kottmeier sent us of who is in the program, we sent off our letters each person, some seventy three of them. Of course we did not have the correct email addresses for some so they kept bouncing back. Steve helped by forwarding those that we had incorrect addresses for. Thanks Steve. About 1000 hours we were told no flight today, winds on 68 knots at McMurdo. At that time Barb and I had made a commitment to go to Lyttleton, NZ with a couple of other guys to see the Nathaniel B. Palmer. The Palmer was the IB/RV that I served on back in 1992. God, never in a million years did I think I would see her again.
Well the time to depart came and Barb decided that we should finish the letters. Not a problem, but how do I tell the two guys who are trying to find their way to our hotel? Honestly I was upset at the change in plans, but, knew Barb wanted to finish the letters then. And we did.
We left the CDC about 1400 hours, Barb was now talking about going horse back riding. Hell, I am going to Lyttleton to see the Palmer. I picked up the digital camera, but that is another story. You see the batteries need recharging and I do have a recharger, but it is sitting in the hold of the C-141 jet transport waiting to take it ,and us, to the ice. I walked to the bus stop and there I found Mimi Florenece and Frank Howell, two ASA people who had the same idea as I did.
We got to Lyttleton and there in the harbor was the Natty B. It brought tears to my eyes. Some very important parts of my life were spent on that ship. It brought back memories of the good times, the hard times and then it focused on my missing of my Ingrid. Ingrid use to love to listen to my stories of the Natty B. and my time on the ice. Oh well, life does, and must go on. We went down to the dock but it was locked up tight. I asked the guard for permission to enter, but the response was no. He did however, give me the ship's phone number. We walked to a bar and I called. Captain Joe was at a diner meeting so I left a message telling the guy on the other end of the phone who I was and to ask Captain Joe if he remebered me.
We then walked around this most quaint and beautiful seaport town. The place is just full of flowers. There were roses everywhere, honeysuckles, lilacs and everything else. No wonder it is called the Garden Center. We walked to the top of one of the highest streets in Lyttleton. There we found a building called the "Ball Tower". On the top of this building was a pole with a large ball attached to it. The ball was lowered or raised to different positions to indicate starting, break and finish times for the workers on the docks. The reason this method was chosen was that bells and whistles are normal sound of a seaport and thus could not be used.
After about 5 hours we returned to the bar where I called the Palmer once again. This time the voice on the line told me that Captain Joe had left, but that he did remember me, and that if I could come back to the ship tomorrow he would love to visit with me
I got back to the hotel at about 2200 hours. There I found the note saying we must be ready to leave at 0445 hours, so that meant waking up at 0330 hours. Dso off to bed I go.
Penguin Peter the Polar Man
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