Lee and I arrived in McMurdo on 30 December at about 7pm. In the past 4 days we have gotten all of the initial training completed, and all of our equipment in the cargo system to get to West Antarctic Ice Sheet field camp (WAIS). We are scheduled to leave for WAIS on 5 January, and we might go to our first site out of McMurdo, Nascent AWS, on 4 January.
We arrived just before the holiday weekend for New Year’s which was celebrated on Sat. 2 January and Sun. 3 January, so there wasn’t much time to get everything ready for the WAIS field camp. I celebrated the New Year a little bit at Ice Stock, which is an outdoor concert event with a chilli cookoff and complementary coffee and Baileys. Other than that, I used this weekend to catch up on sleep, unpack, and reorganize.
This blog will mostly detail the journey to get to Antarctica. I left my parents house near O’Hare at about 1pm on Sat. 26 December, flew to LAX, took the long journey over the Pacific, and eventually landed in Sydney. Since I had a 10 hour layover in Sydney, I went downtown and took a ferry ride.
Then we arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand at about 11pm on Mon. 28 December. The next morning, 29 December, we had our first training videos and got all of our extreme cold weather gear at the clothing distribution center, which was across the street from our hotel. We had the rest of the day free, so I went for a walk since the weather was sunny and 65F!
Then the next day, Wed. 30 December, we checked in for our ice flight at 7:30am. We all got out to the runway and the plane engines were started, but within about 10 minutes they were turned off again; mechanical delay.
Luckily there’s usually at least 3 LC-130 planes in Christchurch, so waited about 2 hours and got on a different plane. Then we were off to Antarctica and we got there in about 7 hours because we had a glorious 100 mph tail wind.
The plane landed on the ice runway and then we all spent about 15 minutes outside the plane taking photos 🙂 Then we took “Ivan the Terra Bus” from the runway to McMurdo.
Then we were in town and it felt weird to be back. Not much has changed in the past 11 months, and thankfully there’s still 24/7 cookies 🙂
I will try and update the blog as often as I can before we get out to WAIS.
Finally, enjoy a video I made about the 83 hour journey to Antarctica.
Happy New Year!