17 December, 2000
FYI answer for 12/16/00
More males are seen on the surface around the ice cracks now because they are through defending their territory. The mothers will move away from their pups as part of the natural separation process. This will force the pups to make their own way. Most of the surviving pups will not be seen in this area for the next four to five years.
It was packing and moving day. The day before the flight out there is a process called 'bag drag'. I had to pack everything into the two orange bags that I came down with and my own suitcase. One of the orange bags and the suitcase will be 'hold' bags. That means that they will travel in a big cargo bin. Anything in them will not be accessible during my flight. They will not be accessible from the time I turn them over until I get them in New Zealand. The other orange bag I will carry onto the plane with me. Now the big deal really is that once you turn over the two hold bags, whatever you are wearing or have kept in the remaining bag is all you have. There has been talk of not having enough room for the number of people on the plane that are scheduled to leave. If I get bumped after bag drag, I will need to have extra clothes. The idea behind bag drag is to get the exact weights of everyone and everything! We have to wear our ECW gear too. It is kind of like a dress rehearsal. We carry everything to the staging area and tomorrow we will hopefully do it for real.
I went for a short hike to Hut Point after I finished 'bag drag'. Hut Point is a hut that both Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton used at some point on their journeys to get to the South Pole. I wasn't able to get inside, but it was a good walk and there were some remains of their things on the outside. I also took an hour and a half hike up Observation Hill at midnight. It was a littlesteeper thn I thought, but it was worth the hike. I saw the ice shelf from up there as well as Mt. Erebus and Mount Terror. It was a great view to inspire me as my adventure is coming to an end. I will leave Antarctica tomorrow, if all goes well, and maybe never return.
The sun will be the _____________ in the sky over Antarctica on December ______. The "darkless" nights will start to return to Antarctica around late ____________.
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