The hardest part about leaving for Antarctica for 5 months is saying goodbye to my family and friends. On the Friday night before I was to leave I threw a BBQ at my place for all my close friends so I could have one final get together to say goodbye to everyone. It was very strange saying to each person as they left “I’ll see you in March!” But I am very glad that I got to see so many of my friends one last time.
From the Sunday through to the Tuesday I left, my parents flew down from Melbourne to spend a few days with me. They got to come out and see my home and we had a big family dinner with Pat’s family, who are my family down in Hobart. It was nice for them to meet everyone finally. We also spent some time visiting the Cascades Female Factory, where my mum tracked down some family history, confirming that a female convict from her family had indeed been there. We also ate lots of good food and got to catch up a little in between some final training and last minute packing. Pat took Monday and Tuesday off work so we could spend my final few days together. He will be looking after my place while I am gone so I packed up some of my things so he could have some space for what he might need. He also made a list of all the small jobs he would like to do around the house while I am gone and made a start on a few.
On Tuesday morning I had to check in and weigh my luggage at the wharf. My baggage would then be taken away, checked by customs and delivered to my room on board the ship. I get to take a max of 30 kg of cabin baggage and I weighed in at about 25 kg. I was glad I had already sent a suitcase of luggage as cargo! I’d already started taking my sea sickness medication on Monday night so I had my next set of pills with breakfast and hoped that they would do the job for the potentially large seas we would be heading into that night. I had a wander through the galleries at Salamanca with mum, dad and Pat and we had an early lunch while I anxiously waited for the time when I had to return to the wharf to be escorted aboard the boat.
It was hard saying goodbye, knowing that it would be almost half a year before I saw them again. Fortunately these days I can still easily communicate with everyone, even on board the boat, so I don’t feel like I am leaving them completely. I will miss them terribly however and look forward to being able to hear their voices over the telephone when I arrive at Davis.