Bad weather at McMurdo and cold temperatures at Pole kept the airplanes away until early morning our time on 11/3 when the comms department finally got some airplane business. Some of us gathered in comms waiting for the C-130 to take off so Jerry could make the all-call announcement we had not heard in 9 months. Here is what it sounded like (slightly censored)...|
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Three hours later there it was--barely visible in the air to the left of the flag.
Past marker 7, making the turn...
Taxiing...(this photo and the next one are from Tadashi Yogi)
Here we are standing there watching it. You might think that our chef Denis (in apron) is looking down at his phone (er, this was 1977?!) but he's carefully fondling wrapped breakfast foods for the flight crew (this flight showed up around 0630). An hour later we winterovers were enjoying a breakfast featuring fresh eggs and chatting with the new arrivals.
More of us watching it.
Here's Bill Spindler waiting to park the aircraft.
It was my job to park most of the airplanes (except for some of the fuel flights) and meet the passengers. This was the first time I was doing this in 9 months, and our winter world was about to come to an end. At this moment I looked at the airplane and then over at the rest of us standing by the taxiway. This was one of the strangest and strongest emotional moments of my life, one which I will never forget. In New Orleans in 1999 as I looked at this photo and originally typed these words, I still feel the emotional impact. Suddenly I had an almost irresistible urge to take off running. If only I could get around behind skylab so I couldn't see the airplane, it would disappear and our "normal" lives would continue. Hmmm. Toast, anyone?
A few days later it was my turn to leave on this one.
Here's Bill Koleto with the sled with our carry-on baggage.
The flight crew granted us winterovers a photo pass...our last
look at what had been our world for many months. Outta here!
A last view of the station on our flight north...in the foreground is the aurora tower of Old Pole which of course we visited...it is surrounded by several of the station emergency escape hatches which can be seen in this photo. We are looking northeast...remember that the the original Pole skiway was to the west of the original station...below the bottom of this photo.