Monday, February 28, 2011
Before I left the Ice, we had a number of "All Hands Meetings" in which
I was tasked to talk to folks and pretty much explain to them that the
City of Christchurch was not the place for them. It was rather disheartening,
but all of the places that Ice folks like to go, such as our favorite restaurants,
coffee houses, parks, etc. were not able to be visited...if they even still
existed. In fact, the plan for most folks leaving the Ice was to drop off
their Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) gear in Christchurch, and then immediately
board a plane for Auckland. Of course, folks were given an option to not get
on this plane and stay on the South Island. I was one of those folks since
Lynn and I already had tickets to go to Tasmania via Sydney.
After saying farewell to Leighton and our friends at the Travel Office, we
checked in for our flight. Lynn was definitely ready to go as last night we
had a couple of really strong aftershocks. Several Search and Rescue groups
from other countries walked through the terminal and they were given
very loud rounds of applause by the folks in the airport. Then, a very
solemn moment occurred. At 12:51, two minutes of silence were observed
to commemorate that it had been one week since the devastating earthquake.
It was very moving and I had never been in an airport that was SO quiet.
It's very sad to be leaving New Zealand, but since we are not involved in
the recovery effort, it's best to be out of the way.