After a long set of flights, I have arrived in New Zealand. We started on Wednesday, and arrive Friday – New Zealand time. In roughly one day, we flew 4 aircraft – Madison to Chicago, Chicago to San Francisco, San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand, and then Auckland, New Zealand to Christchurch, New Zealand. Any we have one more flight to go – in a few days – to get to Antarctica.
Weather here was stormy upon arrival (see attached satellite image with nifty swirling storm system over the country). It made for a bumpy landing in Auckland. Yesterday is just poured here – lots of rain – terrible weather. Of course, it is good to see them get some rain, things here are too dry – its near drought conditions (and odd to land in Christchurch to see brown fields). Today it slowly cleared, but the wind was impressive – up to 45 mph! Temperatures are nice compared to the USA – up to 63°F!
I’ve been working on adjusting to the time zone…which is lots easier coming here than it will be go to back to the USA. I’m writing this at about 5:30 pm on Saturday afternoon – which is 10:30 pm on Friday night back in Wisconsin. When I am in Antarctica, I will be on this same time zone. In the flight down – we cross the dateline, and gain a day. When I return to Wisconsin, the day will change again and very likely arrive in Madison at the same day/time that I left New Zealand!
I’ve not been to New Zealand in over 8 years. Hence, arrival here and my walk around the city today was filled with change. The airport here has grown to a much larger terminal with a fancy welcome. The city here suffered terribly in the 2010/2011 New Zealand earthquakes. Some of my favorite places are just gone. Attached here is few examples of the damage that can still be seen – one is of a building that is being held up by steel supports. Some places, there are just vacant lots. The saddest is the Cathedral – also being held up by steel supports. The steeple tower completely fell in. The good news – decisions have been made to repair it! Other places in the city are just as vibrant and lovely as before including the botanical gardens with the roses in bloom, and the Avon river. (Anyone up for punting on the Avon?)
More from around the city in my next report!
Best Regards from Christchurch,