11 February, 1999

February 11, 1999

Hello from Antarctica! I'm so excited that we are really here. We were told to report to the CDC at 5:45 this morning. We took off around 8:30 and arrived at Pegasus Ice Field about 2:00 p.m.. This year's trip was much shorter than last year's because we flew a different kind of plane. This plane actually has wheels and not skis! We landed on top of the ice shelf, which consists of ice floating on top of the ocean. Of

course, the ice has to be very thick for that to happen. The flight crew told me that we were landing on about 86 feet of ice! The plane seemed to go on forever before it finally came to a stop, but I was really impressed with our smooth landing.

After landing, we had a long drive back to McMurdo Station. Then, we had to have a couple of briefings about Antarctica in general and McMurdo Station in specific. We then loaded all of our luggage and scientific equipment into vans and someone drove everything down to the ship. It was a very busy afternoon loading and unloading everything. Tomorrow we will start unpacking everything for the labs.

On the trip down, I was able to go up on the flight deck for a few minutes and see the inside of a C-141. It was really neat. The pilot, co-pilot, navigator, engineer, chief, and everyone else on the plane were so nice! We were really lucky on our flight because there were only about 25 passengers on board. The same plane was going to be returning to Christchurch with over 100 passengers just a few hours after we landed. Looking at those seats that we had to sit in, I'm sure that their flight was going to seem like more than 5 and a half hours!

While on the plane, I was able to meet a bear named Misty. She is traveling all over the world with different people (mostly in the Air Force). Her owner is a teacher in Columbus, Mississippi, named Mrs. Hocutt. I was able to sit down and read all of the places that Misty has been since her class sent her away earlier this year. She has been quite a traveller!

Well, we are going to have lots of meetings on the ship today. We will learn about safety on the ship as well as information about the scientific equipment that we will be using. After that, we will unpack the equipment for our labs and get everything ready to use. We hope to set sail from McMurdo Station at around 4:00 this afternoon. Speaking of McMurdo Station, what types of buildings would you expect to find there? More about that in tomorrow's journal!

Until then . . .

Kim Giesting

This penguin was just hanging around . . . not too far from the ship. It is an Adelie penguin.

This is Misty, the bear. She lives in Mississippi and is traveling all over the world.

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