We got into the DC3 and made our way from South Pole Station back to Union Glacier. The last 15 minutes of the flight were very exciting and made me glad for seat belts.
Union Glacier is having an unexpected wind storm with winds at 40 knots per hour and gusting higher. The clouds are stunning because of the high winds. These are called lenticular clouds.
They look like a painter took a big thick brush, dabbed it in white paint and then just dabbed at the sky. People are really whooping it up and really enjoying the incredibly windy day. There are a lot of kites in the air and some are actually practicing their kite skiing. It is totally wild here.
Near white out condition on the ground and yet when you look about 8 feet off the ground, it is clear sunny, and a beautiful day.
One of the tent poles broke mid-day and there was a lot of excitement and action trying to rescue and re-secure the tent. These are the same strong winds that we faced at the North Pole. It is certainly a lot nicer to face them here from the vantage point of a safe base camp.
This camp is extremely well-stocked. Because the challenges of the wind and our tent location, they ran a very large snow plow and erected a large snow wall to protect the camp.
Leaving for Punta Arenas may be delayed because of the storm. The Ilyushin will not fly if the winds are greater than 38 knots. We should know tomorrow.
The team is healthy and in great spirits given our success, but we are ready to come home.