At 8 a.m. we got a call from Helicopter Operations: Our overdue pickup from Cape Royds would land at our camp at 10 a.m. sharp. We scrambled about our Scott tent, stuffing sleeping bags into sacks, rolling up power cables, and taking apart the solar panel array that had kept our computers running for six days. Then, at 9:45, the skies darkened and the winds picked up.
Soon the sides of our tents were smacking against their wooden supports, and snow was flying horizontally across the black rocks outside the door. Helo Ops called again: No one would be flying anywhere for a while.
Three hours later, I was curled up next to the kitchen stove starting a thick paperback when Jean Pennycook burst in the door. She had sighted a transport vehicle out on the ice. If helicopters couldn’t fly today, perhaps we could hitch a ride.