I am now on the plane home, having watched the award winning safety video starring Richard Simmons and some of the All Blacks. The Francophones are somewhere on the plane, but as yet they have not started singing. My final Au Revoir with them will probably be at the baggage carousel in Sydney.
As we came up through the clouds this morning and I looked out over the vast sea of white I felt for a moment I was back in the ice.
The aftershocks from the earlier two earthquakes continued and there were five tremors before I arrived in Christchurch. Apparently there was another at three o’clock this morning. I did wake up around that time but didn’t realise we had had an earth tremor. There was another one just after I arrived at the airport, although, once again I didn’t feel it.
So now it is all over bar the shouting. And customs, quarantine, duty free and the drive home.
So what of the recap?
It was the best of trips and the worst of trips.
When I started this blog I mentioned some of the challenges I thought I would face on the trip. The big fear of sea-sickness turn out to be a non-event. Two or three chucks over two different days and one was not really sea-sick related. The biggest challenge was the psychological one and this was a combination of boredom and frustration. The frustration stemmed from the failure to reach the continent and the frustration of not being in control. This was not a “Day 5 – explore Rome at your leisure” kind of trip. If there were no planned activities, there were no activities and this can be hard to come to terms with. Of course reading through the Ann Frank display at the museum yesterday kind of puts it in perspective a bit. It was by no means the worst of the hardships I could have endured.
It is likely to be many years until a ship is able to reach Mawson’s Hut, by then, in a better boat and a shorter trip, I might consider it, but basically I would never go on a long voyage again. I would not go on one with so much sea time and no “do-it-yourself” activities.
I will also try to avoid organised tours to some extent as well, although in remote or third world countries this can be trickier.
So finally would I recommended going to Antarctica, yes, but not from Australia unless you are really compelled to see Macquarie Island and the New Zealand sub-Antarctic Islands and don’t mind being a long time at sea.