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7 November, 2003

It's Time!

Temperature: 68*F

Location: Christchurch, NZ

Although I didn't need to wake up until 4:00 am, I was wide awake at 2:30 am. I

suspect it was the excitement of "heading out" today that woke me up. I kept running through a check list of all the clothing/gear that would be needed. I wanted to be extra sure not to overlook anything. It certainly makes me appreciate the enormous task Peter Doran, or any project leader, has to ensure that all the necessary equipment for the field is in place for an entire seasons worth of work.

We headed back over to the Clothing Distribution Center (CDC) at 4:30 am. We quickly got dressed, packed up all remaining items, and checked in at the boarding area to be weighed. It's amazing how much weight extreme cold weather gear and a carry on bag can add to ones total weight!

We went to a briefing room to hear the safety instructions and procedures to be followed while on the C141 military cargo plane. We were then shuttled out to the plane and we boarded. The crew fastened each one of us into our web backed seats. To say the quarters were tight would be an understatement. For the past two days, a flight that was trying to get to McMurdo Station was cancelled due to bad weather. All those folks joined us on our scheduled flight.

Without too much delay, we were airborne. The noise was impressive! It was a fairly smooth flight all the way to McMurdo. It was wierd taking off and landing without being able to see where we were going - there are only a few, very small, windows on the plane. It also felt odd to be sitting sideways. The touch down on the landing was incredibly smooth; I was expecting it to be rough.

The doors opened and let in the cold Antarctic air! In a matter of moments we were stepping out onto the sea ice and looking at the majestic mountains in the background! Another plane was due to land soon after ours, so we had to hurry and load "Ivan the Terra Bus" to be transported over to McMurdo Station. We then had a Station briefing and were shown our rooms.

Phil and Roman, two team members who were already here, met up with us at the dorms. We went over to the lab and started gathering gear for the trip to the field. It has been another very long, yet exciting day.

I'm in Antarctica and having the time of my life!

1) Pack up!

2) Crew strapping down one of several pallets heading to "The Ice."

3) Do I really want to get on this thing? Heck YES!

4) C141 nose

5) Six hours like this?

6) First Antarctic Light!

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