Ever been at a party, having a great time, and your ride home starts honking the horn out front?
The ship that will haul us back to Chile arrived this morning, with plans for steaming north on Friday morning.
Crew and passengers have been cruising around the Antarctic peninsula for the last month, kept from their explorations too much of that time by ice. For them, today is a great respite, a chance to come ashore on Palmer Station, hike around, maybe soak in the hot tub and almost certainly have a drink or six in the bar. Everyone will feast together on pizza tonight and the longer-term residents of Palmer will get a welcome infusion of company.
For those of us who have settled into Anvers Island so comfortably, the boat is not a pretty sight. It means our stomachs are soon to be tested by the Drake Passage, and after that several airports and tiny airline seats.
Much more, it means leaving -- without much prospect of ever returning -- one of the most spectacular natural settings on the planet. We'll leave behind, too, a tight ad hoc family of warm and adventurous souls who have made the remote anything but lonely.
I'm already dreading that moment after an exotic, some days after the return, when it feels like a dream -- cut short by the alarm clock of ordinary life. Where's the damn snooze button.