3 January, 1999
Sunday, January 3rd, 1999, Christchurch, NZ
About my visit to the CDC (Clothing Distribution Center): I was the only person checking in and I had enough time to look around
after I tryed all my gear. Every item had to fit well. You must imagine that we had temperatures in the 80ties and I had to try
on the thermal underwear, fleece layers, wind gear, socks, hats, neck warmer, gloves, and the famous white "bunny boots". Needless to say that I was sweating but I went outside for some photo opportunities anyway!
The packing of the clothing was very systematic as well. We were given one orange canvas bag labeled "HOLD", a second labeled " CARRY ON". The "Carry On" bag was only carryed on and then to be stored away, but accessible when we were leaving the plane. It should include 2 sets of thermals and all of the ECW which we were supposed to wear during the fligh plus a set of change of zivillian clothing in case we would not leave and had to return in Christchurch. The " Hold " bag included more of issued clothing plus anything of your own you could fit. You could also take another bag along as "Hold" luggage as long as all of it would not be more than 73 pounds! All of this gear would be stored with the rest of the cargo. Some sorting was nessecary so you would not have to go back to the Hotel in your big Antarctic boots in case the plane would not leave that day because you would not have access to your gear in the "hold". It worked for most of us. I heard someone got confused while packing, retuned on the flight back to
Christchurch because of bad weather.. The had no other shoes than the heavy boots.Though funny, it was probably not much fun to walk
in them in summer temperatures in Chrischurch.
I felt prepared and ready to go. But I was not certain yet when that would be. More time for fine-tuned trip preparations.
About the question why Christchurch was choosen for the
final leave to the Antarctic. Christchurch has been a gate way for Antarctic expeditions for many years. Many of the old explorers sail boats left from here to reach and explore the Atnarctic waters. It is now also the best plane route to McMurdo which is the main U.S.A. station in the Antarctic. Research vessels usually leave from Chile, South America, to McMurdo. Other expeditions also leave from South Africa to reach other parts of the Antarctic continent. All of these continents are close to the Antarctic if you look at the globe from the South.
I just found out that another teacher from the NSF program is at the Windsor and her flight was also delayed. Her name is Sue Bowman. She will also be going to the South Pole doing reasearch on neutrinos. Check
out her web site if you want to know what these little parcticle are and why her team from Berkely has to come all the way to the South Pole to study it.
I continue to feel better and I feel strong and ready to go. Stay tuned for the next report.
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