Oz and Tassie fun

Ready to board the C-17 to leave the Ice

Ready to board the C-17 to leave the Ice

G’day Northerners,

Following a most enjoyable time on the ice with the best roommate I’ve ever had, Lynn and I jetted off to New Zealand for a few days of re-entry into the world of greenery, kids, dogs and fresh vegetables. It was an easy adjustment, and after a few days of warmth we were ready for the beaches and reefs of Australia. Port Douglas is a pleasant town that is close to the Great Barrier Reef, so we did some scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking and beach time there. The local newspaper carried an interesting story of how tourism seems to be down ever since they posted the signs on the beach about crocodiles, even after they assured folks that any crocs over 2.2 meters (7 feet) would be relocated, since a 6 footer could only maim but probably not kill you. They are still working on the details of making that sound plausible.

        Next up was Tasmania, a beautiful island off the southern coast of Australia that has beautiful beaches, over a dozen national parks, and plenty of interesting wildlife. We had some fabulous Airbnb experiences as we drove all over the island for 2 weeks and biked and hiked everyday, rain or shine. We had the best animal viewing one night driving back from a late dinner when the nocturnal creatures pranced around the roads in our headlights, and realized we should have done more night safaris. We ended our tour with a 2 night stay in Sydney, and enjoyed the sights and cuisine of the big city from an apartment overlooking the famed Opera House and Harbor bridge. Cockatoos and parrots squawked above the balcony, and biking over the bridge and back in intermittent rain had us laughing and drying out in the southern sun before a final meal of fresh seafood overlooking the harbor.

    I’m back in the office and Lynn is scoping out work possibilities in town, so we’re staying put for at least a few weeks before the next adventure. Spring snow had me shoveling the driveway yesterday, but I’m hopeful the pickleball courts are dried out by tomorrow for some exercise. Hope your spring is warming up.

Tas tourist Bob

Diving on the Great Barrier Reef- all I'm missing is a gold chain!

Diving on the Great Barrier Reef- all I’m missing is a gold chain!

Sea turtle munching on a delicious jellyfish

Sea turtle munching on a delicious jellyfish

Beautifully colored giant clams adorn the reef

Beautifully colored giant clams adorn the reef

Locals can't figure out why the croc sign has concerned the tourists

Locals can’t figure out why the croc sign has concerned the tourists

Another beautiful sweeping beach on Tasmania

Another beautiful sweeping beach on Tasmania

A large kangaroo rockets across the bike trail on Maria Island

A large kangaroo rockets across the bike trail on Maria Island

A weary looking wombat peeks out of his burrow

A weary looking wombat peeks out of his burrow

The painted cliffs on Maria Island were fantastic

The painted cliffs on Maria Island were fantastic

The painted cliffs on Maria Island were fantastic

The painted cliffs on Maria Island were fantastic

A shy, egg laying mammal called an echidna rustles through the leaves

A shy, egg laying mammal called an echidna rustles through the leaves

One of the 3 poisonous Tasmanian snakes makes a run for it

One of the 3 poisonous Tasmanian snakes makes a run for it

A true one lane suspension bridge on a scenic hike

A true one lane suspension bridge on a scenic hike

We walked through the Sydney Botanical Gardens to reach the Opera House

We walked through the Sydney Botanical Gardens to reach the Opera House

 

Next stop, Australia

Hike to Castle Rock, overlooking the volcano

Hike to Castle Rock, overlooking the volcano

Greetings Valentiners,

       We’re on our last day here before jetting off the Ice to New Zealand tomorrow. I worked on my final dental patients yesterday for a total of 167 and packed up my gear to send home so we can travel light for the next few weeks in Australia and Tasmania. Just heard it is 117 degrees in Sydney so probably don’t need the long underwear that I wear all day here. We did manage to get up early enough this morning to hike 6 miles and climb Castle Rock in sunny, clear weather to help justify gorging ourselves on the brunch spread back in town. It was a little rough after last night’s party of food and booze accented with 10,000 year old glacial ice that was chipped into chunks with one of my dental tools.

      It was another great season of seeing old friends and good times in a unique setting, and to be able to share it with Lynn made it a whole different experience. Once we return the special gear we have acquired here, like the jacket known as Big Red and the Pee bottles we hike with it’s time to integrate with the rest of the world, which can be a bit of a challenge compared to inmates trying to fit in to society after serving their time. But we’ll manage and hope to see many of you before too long. Until then, happy trails and save a hug for us.

Cheers,

      Glacial sipping Bob

Lynn with her Big Red

Lynn with her Big Red

Party with glacial ice in Coke and Jameson

Party with glacial ice in Coke and Jameson

Medical crew strutting their stuff

Medical crew strutting their stuff

Finishing up ping pong with friends

Finishing up ping pong with friends

Polishing crystals from Erebus, the local volcano

Polishing crystals from Erebus, the local volcano

Antarctica spider chart

Antarctica spider chart

 

 

South Pole for the Weekend

The new dental cart at the South Pole made it there one day ahead of me from Denver

The new dental cart at the South Pole made it there one day ahead of me from Denver

Hola weekend warriors,

While most of the US was glued to the TV for either the Superbowl or to see if the Trump administration could lower the bar even further, I was packing and traveling to 90 degrees south. I caught a Friday afternoon flight south, stayed just long enough to unpack a new dental cart that miraculously made it one day ahead of me and fixed a few teeth. Of course I played some ping pong and pool and did a little day hike in 50 below sunshine to the telescope looking back a mere 12.6 billion years in time. By Monday afternoon I was back on the ski equipped LC-130 cargo plane in time to have dinner with Lynn back at McMurdo with one more week to go before flying out to New Zealand and a few weeks of fun.

We finally saw a lonely penguin this afternoon, since the sea ice is broken up pretty well because the icebreaker escorted both the cargo ship and fuel ship to the base, but we’re still hoping for some whales to stop by too. The dental cases are winding down, and once I’m done teaching the doc and PA who are staying for the winter how to fix teeth, I’ll pack it up and ship my big bag home.

It’s been another fun season on the Ice, and there’s already talk of next year. But before that, we’d like some warm sunshine, so send some news from home and we hope to see many of you soon.

Cheers,

Back from the Pole Bob

The South Pole Telescope that can see events 12.7 billion years ago

The South Pole Telescope that can see events 12.7 billion years ago

Touring the South Pole telescope

Touring the South Pole telescope

The grow room at the South Pole for fresh veggies

The grow room at the South Pole for fresh veggies