Big Gray Aeroplane

We went out to the sea ice runway yesterday to say goodbye to my main man Phil and film the departure of a C-17 transport full of departing friends. The shared experience of living in an industrial company village surrounded by endless expanses of brilliant icy wilderness makes for quick and profound friendships, and we saw not a few tearful goodbyes. Another hundred or so summer residents arrived, swelling the ranks of the unknown faces at the galley. Amongst them we can only hope that we will find new friends as fast and true as those who have just flown off. Because every year everyone here seems to have a slightly different schedule, some working a 14 month contract one year, a winter and summer only the next, or a Winfly arrival through the end of summer, etc., the town is full of old friendships being renewed. People who spent a winter together, bonding tightly in some past season, now find that this year they only overlap for the few days between a summer arrival and a Winfly departure. The bars are full and those about to depart alternate frenzied packing with frenzied socializing. Being "fingees," (pronounced fin-jeeze, the derogatory term for first timers on the continent, derived from 'f@%#*&! new guys') and worse, people unlikely to return to McMurdo, we are largely on the outside of all these high-pitched emotions.

Welcome Summer Residents! Ivan the Terra Bus, from: Vehicles of McMurdo

Eager to Offload: Caterpillar Tractor Power on the Sea Ice

Did you say something? All I heard for four hours was some very big jet engines.

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