Dec 9 – Oh joy!

December 10, 2009

Today was a feast for the senses. We began the day by an excellent breakfast served at our Bed and Breakfast. Fresh tomatoes, eggs and fruit have never given me more pleasure. Peter flew back today morning. He had suggested visiting Riccarton Bush, an old growth forest in the middle of Christchurch. Chris, Kristof and I took a leisurely walk down there. It turned out to be an excellent choice. The trees, bushes, bugs and birds were a pleasure to the eyes, the wind and warm sun a pleasure to feel, the varied bird sounds a pleasure to the ears, the forest smells a pleasure to the nose, and the excellent food in the cafe a pleasure to the sense of taste.

I am at a loss of words to express how great it was to be there, after almost 2 months of not seeing a single plant or animal life form.

Myself and Chris entering Riccarton Bush.

Kristof at the beginning of the forest trail.

Joy.

600 years old Kahikatea trees.

Kristof smelling the roses.


Dec 5 – Bittersweet goodbye to the dry valleys and party in “town”

December 10, 2009

We flew into McMurdo today. I was both relieved and sad to leave Lake Bonney. I have had one of the most amazing experiences of my life in the past 40 days at Bonney. I struggled through being sick and cold when I arrived; the team worked its way through a myriad of problems; the end result was a very successful season whose accomplishments exceeded all expectations. I have formed a strange kind of attachment with the lake and the valley and it made me sad to think that I may never be here again. However, I was relieved to leave – no more being cold all the time, eating bread and cheese for lunch every day, working 14-17 hour days, peeing in a bottle and pooping in a stinky bucket.

We got together in the evening to celebrate. Below is picture (thanks to Maciej and Rachel).

Starting from left, going clockwise - Jim, Emma (hidden behind Jim), Rachel, myself, Peter, Chris, Maciej, and Kristof.


Nov 28 – Thanksgiving

December 4, 2009

We took Saturday off to celebrate Thanksgiving. I woke up around noon to see almost everyone already up and to be greeted cheerfully by Emma. Peter was cooking turkey (apart from other stuff) , and Kristof was working on a veggie casserole. After breakfast, I decided to hike down valley to the east end of the lake. Emma decided to accompany me and we had a great time. It was very beautiful and quiet there – it was as if we had traveled back in time. It is rare to get such a sense of solitude and freedom. We came back and enjoyed  a very nice Thanksgiving meal and desserts cooked by Bill and Emma.

Peter working on turkey.

Myself on the way to the east end of the lake.

Emma. Behind her is the east end of Lake Bonney.

During summer, glacier melt-water flows into streams that feed into Lake Bonney. Emma walking by Priscu stream.

Thanksgiving dinner. Starting from left front and going clockwise - Emma, Vickie, Chris, Rachel, Peter, Kristof, Bill, Leah.