13 November, 1996

November 13th, 1996

We are on our way!

Mrs. Bennett and I both passed a sleepless night. We were picked up at our lodgings at 6:15 am so that we might arrive at CDC at 6:45 am. This is actually one of the latest times that planes have left for McMurdo this season. At the CDC we changed into our ECW clothing, stuffed our parka pockets with books for the seven hour flight, and finished packing all of our bags. We were also issued Dog Tags (like in the military) and filled out departure cards. We carried our stuff to the departure lounge around the corner form the CDC. My hold bag weighed 40 pounds, the handcarry somewhat less.

At the gate we all lined up with our hold bags in front of us. A drug sniffing dog checked our gear, then our hold bags were taken from us as we recieved our departure cards. (Just like at any airport in the States!) We were allowed to wander a bit outside before reporting back to the gate. One of the passengers is assigned to the Pole with the Amanda project. He streched out on the grass, realizing that this would be his last time for a year!

We reported back inside at 8:10 am. This time we were checked with drug sniffing dogs again before loading with our hand carry bag onto a bus. We drove to the aircraft we would take down to Antarctica, a New Zealand Airforce C-130. There were only 16 of us. We sat on canvas fold down benches, leaning back against the webbing in the front of the plane. The rest of the plane was filled with huge cargo pallets. During flight we could climb on top of these pallets to sleep, read books and eat the sack lunch they gave us as we boarded the flight.

We landed on the ice runway outside Mcmurdo station and were picked up by a van. At the NSF chalet in Mcmurdo we received a briefing and our housing allocations. I am staying in the Hotel California and am sharing a room with Mrs. Bennett. The other members of our group S-190, Suruj and Dr. Braaten, are also in HC. We collected our bags and ate dinner. Next we attended a Wednesday evening lecture about meteorites. After unpacking and getting our e-mail accounts we turned in at midnight. The sun was still as bright as ever, but after such a long day, I slept like a rock.

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