To Antarctica, Part 1: Almost there!

First off, some helpful links:

  • McMurdo Live Cam for current weather and conditions!
  • B-134-M is my advisor’s grant number, and one of the pages where we will be posting updates! B = Biology. M = McMurdo Station. 134 = grant number.

The first several legs of my travels to Antarctica are now complete! Here’s the quick rundown of my flight schedule so far:

  • 19-minute flight from Santa Barbara to LAX
  • 6-hour layover at LAX
  • 14-hour flight from LAX to Sydney
  • 12-hour layover in Sydney
  • 3-hour flight to Christchurch, New Zealand

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…

All my bags, labeled and packed! We have a maximum of 75 pounds total luggage for our trip down to the ice.

 

A little bubbly!

We started our travel adventures out of Santa Barbara Airport, where we checked in early and got in some time for a nice champagne toast in the parking lot before departure.

The flight from SB to LAX was extremely short and empty – there were 9 of us total on the entire flight! We got to stretch our legs and think about our long journey ahead.

Our field team was booked on flights independently, so the 5 of us took 3 different flights to Sydney and met up for the long layover. We spent the time strategizing…

“Operation Greasy Breakfast”

And sleeping…

Operation “sleep like a baby”

36 hours of travel, we arrived in Christchurch NZ at 2am! Luckily our airport was very close, so we were able to get a couple hours of sleep before heading out the next day for clothing distribution at the CDC.

CDC, but not “Center for Disease Control”

One of the buildings in the antarctic complex, the clothing distribution center (CDC) is where we get outfitted with all of our Extreme Cold Weather gear (ECW). Keep up with the acronyms!

All of our ECW!

The wall on the left when you walk in details the sort of clothing you might be issued. The jacket on the far left will be a regular in my photos – it’s “Big Red”, a massive down jacket made by Canada Goose that will most likely be my primary outside layer in the field!

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Dr. Hofmann, showing us how it’s done in the Men’s locker room

Clothing issue consists of a locker room lined with orange bags. Each person is issued two bags of extreme cold weather gear.

We try on every piece of gear to check for sizing. Luckily for me, they were spot-on with my sizes from the measurements that I gave them!

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It’s big, It’s red…

Here’s me in my Big Red.

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The clothing list

They allow you to exchange any sizes that don’t work for you until you’re satisfied. This is crucial, as this gear will by my primary outfit when working out on the sea ice. In addition, they have us wear this gear when we board the plane to Antarctica.

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…glad regular flying isn’t like this!

So 5 days after leaving the US, we’re still in Christchurch NZ waiting for our flight. We were supposed to leave yesterday, but the plane got delayed 24 hours – and we got a call this morning that there’s been another delay of 4 hours. We hope to be on the plane today at noon, so fingers crossed!

 

In the meantime, we’ve had an opportunity to walk around downtown Christchurch, NZ. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The city is still recovering from their 2011 earthquake, so the “Restart Mall” is constructed out of shipping containers.

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The hip, the trendy, the Restart Mall

Our team grabbed lunch there, and definitely didn’t forget to order the New Zealand special, the flat white.

The town is gorgeous, with lots of greenery and a quaint feel.

We have an hour before we catch the shuttle back to the CDC, to gear up in our ECW and head to our flight. Wish us luck in our travels!

 

Next section:  To Antarctica: Almost ALMOST there

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