So many things have happened this month, including the annual Winterover Film festival, which I talked about in my last post. The thing I am most excited about is that Max and I received our official redeployment dates for New Zealand. We will be leaving Pole on October 31st and then staying two days in McMurdo before going to NZ November 2nd. That is about a week earlier than we thought we were leaving so we will now have an extra week of backpacking near Queenstown. However, these dates may very well change. Two years ago, the weather delayed station opening until the 8th of November.
Max and I also celebrated three years of being together, which was much different than celebrating at home. We went for a walk outside and took pictures. It may have been the most beautiful day I have experienced here. I will try to paint you a picture: We walked down and around the station. We were both amazed by how much lighter it has gotten. The sun is about 12 degrees below the horizon, but we are starting to see blue sky. We walked to the ceremonial pole and we could see a little orange and for the first time we could see a few clouds. We are both very eager for light.
We were so busy looking at the sunlight that it took me a few minutes to look all around. I finally looked to the other side and saw the moon setting and the Milky Way full of stars. I had forgotten all about our last moon cycle coming to an end. The top of the moon was just barely peeking out over the horizon. We were able to watch the last moon cycle we will ever see set at the South Pole. The next cycle will not happen for almost two more weeks, and by that time the sky will be getting very bright and the sun will start to show itself after six months of darkness.
It may look like sunrise, but this was actually the moon setting on the horizon.
I will miss watching my favorite star clusters and always being able to see Mars, but I am looking forward to the pretty colors we will see during sunrise and having more work to do outside. Once the sun comes up, my coworkers and I have two buildings outside to inventory, and then it will be time to set up the cargo yard and prepare for the first flight.
This month is also the annual South Pole pool tournament. It has been going on for two weeks and the winner will be determined on Sunday. The winner gets their name engraved on a plaque. Max and I both made it fairly far. Max got out yesterday. I had a very sad game on Tuesday. I had pocketed all my balls while my opponent still had six balls on the table. I was chasing the 8-ball for a few turns. I had a perfect line up with the 8-ball almost in the pocket and the Q-ball in a straight line on the short side. I took the shot and the Q-ball followed the 8-ball in, causing me to lose on a scratch. It was very sad for me, but I still played well until the end. There are some really good players in the finals, so it was probably for the best that I got out early.