Welcome to another exciting season on the ice! This season we will only be working from now until December 16th, and we have 16 AWS we would like to try and visit. Thus, it will be one of our shorter seasons in Antarctica. Here’s what been happening the past week!
On Friday, October 21st myself and Lee Welhouse left the Midwest to start our travels to Antarctica. For whatever reason we weren’t scheduled on the same flights, so Lee travelled through Sydney, Australia and I travelled through Auckland, NZ to get to Christchurch, NZ. I somehow got upgraded to business class on my flight from LAX to Auckland! I got to enjoy a lay flat seat, and I was given pajamas and some slightly better airplane food 🙂
Lee and I arrived at our hotel in Christchurch on the evening of Sunday, October 23rd. Then on Monday morning we had our orientation at the Clothing Distribution Center (CDC). We watched a few videos, tried on all of our Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) gear, and then we were free for the rest of the day. We took the shuttle to downtown Christchurch and went to our favorite brunch spot; The Villas. Then we walked all the way back to hotel, which was about an hour long walk. Then that afternoon/evening we relaxed and went to the Brewer’s Arm for dinner.
On Tuesday, October 25th we had check in for our flight to Antarctica at 9:30am. We ended up getting a weather delay for the flight and enjoyed a lovely 4 hours at the CDC waiting around. Then we got new hotels and this time we would be staying in a hotel in downtown Christchurch, NZ, which was great news. That afternoon I wandered around the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, and I grabbed some dinner from one of the food carts in the Re:START mall.
On Wednesday, October 26th we got a call at 4:45am that our flight was going to be delayed 24-hours, so we would have another day off in Christchurch! Lee and I meet up for brunch at The Villas again, and then I took the bus to Lyttleton, NZ for a hike on the Bridle Path. The weather was not ideal, but it was nice to spend some time outside.
On Thursday, October 27th we took the shuttle to the CDC at 5:15am and we checked in for the flight. At this point they had combined some of the flights, so the flight was going to be packed with passengers. At about 7am we were told the flight would be good to go, so we all boarded the plane and we were up in the air by 9:30am. We landed at Pegasus Airfield about 2:30pm and we arrived at McMurdo station at about 3:30pm via a long bus drive in Ivan the Terra Bus. Then we had a couple more debriefs and we were given our dorm keys. Then we could finally unpack and get a bit more settled.
On Friday and Saturday, October 28th and 29th Lee and I had a variety of training, meetings, and miscellaneous work to catch up on. We got set up with a nice big office in Crary lab, and we grabbed some of our equipment out of storage. Now we are all trained and ready to go in the field!
This coming week we’ll be organizing our shed, setting up potential flights to AWS, and continuing to get settled into the routine of McMurdo. We’re hoping we might be able to get to our first AWS later this week! We’ll be in McMurdo for about the next 7 weeks, so we’re optimistic this will be plenty of time. At the same time, you never know what Antarctica will throw at you!