We were all sad to have to leave Campbell Island and begin the journey home. The magic of Northeast Harbor from the night before still lingered as we began our 30 -hour trip to the Snares Islands. Many of us did, however, appreciate a day at sea to collect our thoughts and recuperate from the frenetic pace of the last few days.
We enjoyed a wonderful lecture from Chris Turney on Antarctic explorers; it was quite incredible to listen to a recording of Shackleton’s voice while riding the waves of the Southern Ocean. Jonathan Palmer also gave a really interesting tutorial on dendrochronolgy in the afternoon, as an American I was slightly ashamed to hear about a US graduate student cutting down one of the oldest trees in the world to retrieve a stuck tree-corer. Jonathan did however share some amazing insights about “the loneliest tree in the world”, the spruce on Campbell Island, and how parts of it may have been used as Christmas trees by the meteorological station staff early on in its life.
Apart from the lectures, much of the day was spent in preparation for our return to civilization. Samples were relabeled, cores wrapped, pictures downloaded and shared. Even though we haven’t been at sea for all that long it feels quite strange to be heading North, realizing for many of us our part in this expedition will soon be over.
We were all very grateful to have one more stop ahead at the Snares Islands (weather permitting) before returning to reality.