16 January, 1998
Hello! Well, things went very well today! The plane actually loaded up at 1:00 a.m. and we took off at 1:30 a.m. We flew in a C-130 cargo plane. There was quite a bit of cargo in the rear of the plane, and the people sat on fold-down seats in the front of the plane. It was very cramped, and many people sat facing each other with their knees barely fitting in the middle! In addition to wearing our ECW gear, we were also given a pair of ear plugs to wear. Even with the ear plugs, the plane was very noisy. I can't imagine how loud it was without them!
Most people slept during the majority of the flight. It was a very calm flight, but the seats were not very comfortable. Some people even slept on the floor near the cargo! We had sack lunches waiting for us on our chairs, but most people weren't very hungry since we were flying during the middle of the night. I ate some of mine for breakfast right before we landed. The flight took about 8 hours, so we landed on the continent of Antarctica at about 9:30 a.m!
The plane lands on ice, so it is actually equipped with skis! I was surprised how smooth the landing was. After we got off the plane, we rode in a "bus" from the air field to McMurdo Station. From there, we took helicopters out to the boat. I really enjoyed the helicopter trip! I even got to sit in the front seat! The boat wasn't very far away from the shore, but taking a helicopter was about the only way that we could get out there. They carried all of our gear in nets beneath the helicopters! Where do you suppose the helicopter landed when it took us out to theboat?
Our boat is named the Nathaniel B. Palmer. It is about as long as a football field and has four or five decks! We had a quick orientation and tour of the boat, but I'm still learning my way around. I have my own room which includes bunk beds, a desk, a television with VCR (no television stations in the Ross Sea), 2 closets with shelves, and 3 drawers. In addition, I have a private bath. On most "cruises," there are so many scientists that people share rooms. Since there are only 8 scientists on our trip, we all have our own rooms. I'll talk more about the Palmer tomorrow. Right now, I need to go, unpack my bags, and go to bed. My work shift on the boat is from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., so I must be up very early in the morning (and it's been a very long day or two)!
Thanks to all of your for the email. I love getting your questions! Please don't worry if it takes a day or two to answer them. We only upload/download email every 12 hours on the Palmer ... provided we are able to reach the satellite. Otherwise, it can take 24 hours before we get our mail. So please remember that the answers are coming (even if they take a day or two).
Contact the TEA in the field at .
If you cannot connect through your browser, copy the TEA's e-mail address in the "To:" line of your favorite e-mail package.