18 Aug 2014, by Matt Shupe [71N, 156W]:
We’ve just arrived off the shores of Barrow. Home is on the horizon. It has been a long time coming and a lot of work to get to this point. Most of me is so glad, relieved even, to get here. To get back home and squeeze out a little bit of summer before the snows start again in the Colorado mountains. But another part of me feels some apprehension about this transition back to real life. I’ve grown comfortable with some parts of life on Oden. The predictable routine (often called “groundhog day” around here). Such routine day-to-day living is not always desirable, but there has been something comforting about it. And probably the biggest thing that I’ll miss is the daily exercise. Going home is no excuse for not doing exercise. But I know my life, and I’m not sure I can find all of that time. Every day for the last 6 weeks I’ve spent 1.5 hours on exercise. At least I return home feeling great.
So the sun sets on leg #1 of the ACSE / SWERUS-C3 cruise. It has been a fantastic time in so many ways: Working diligently with great colleagues; Meeting interesting new friends from many nations; Exploring the clouds on a new side of the Arctic (at least for me!); Learning about methane and ocean floor sediments; Witnessing captivating scenes and once-in-a-lifetime experiences; Living and breathing the Arctic with its many colors, critters, landscapes. Tomorrow we hand the baton to our colleagues who will carry on for the second half. Their trip will be colder, and darker. But hopefully they will also enjoy the magnificence of the central Arctic as I have during Leg 1.