Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Getting to Antarctica
above--from the window -landing soon and....... I am in Antarctica!!!!!!!
I wrote this on the C17 transport a 5-hour flight-noisy but otherwise not bad. Everyone wears earplugs and the experienced types have headphones. We sit with our backs to the wall. This is the preferred plane—otherwise it is the C130-less comfortable, more crammed and it takes 2 to 3 hours longer. I am sitting next to Becky Ball- the scientist who wrote me the extremely welcoming email. She is as gracious and welcoming in person.
So far all systems go. Weather looks good for landing but that can change at a moment’s notice.
This morning I got up at 4:00 AM, did the final bag sorting—although I really did that last night. There were 4 categories-----carry-on, check in, boomerang and leave behind in NZ for the return. The actual final sort took place before boarding this morning.
The carry-on—camera, computer passport, etc. the usual except that it had to fit in one of their orange duffel bags and it would also include a bottle of hooch, and my shoes. I had packed it yesterday at the CDC with “big red”, the enormous standard-issue red parka) and the giant blue bunny boots. Those came out however, and I put them on this morning –those items had to be worn on the plane.
Check in—everything else except for ……..
The dreaded ------boomerang---this contains the things I would want to have accessible in the event that we are forced to turn around and go back to Christchurch due to weather conditions on the ice. So in there are normal clothes for a few days, toilet articles, a little sketch pad and my watercolors. I really hope we don’t need that bag today!!!
And I did leave behind the rest of what I don’t need for Antarctica but might need for when I come off the ice.
The plane is packed with palettes full of who know what and every seat is taken. There are some mysterious VIP’s aboard, in full Antarctic gear, and they are sitting in the reserved seats up front.
Yesterday I was issued: the brand-spanking new “big red”, a lighter version of big red (little red?), new wind pants,brand-new blue bunny boots, 4 new pairs of gray wool socks, black fleece pants, a black fleece jacket, a new, in the wrapper, set of lightweight black long johns and a new set of heavy weight long johns, 2 pairs of new lined leather gloves, a pair of rag wool mitten liners and leather mittens, a pair of goggles, a fleece neck gaiter, a baklava, and a fleece hat. Everything fit perfectly except I did exchange the white blow-up bunny boots for the blue ones on Andrea Polli’s recommendation-she thought they were more comfortable for walking and chances are, I won’t be in the water.