Archive for October, 2006


Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

We made it to McMurdo successfully today, so the most potentially frustrating stage is behind us. The flight was very smooth and I had a much better seat than last year – I would almost say the flight was enjoyable. I even got to see the cockpit of C-17. The routine of McMurdo life came back almost instantly and it almost feels like I’d never left. Now we are inundated with briefings and meetings for the rest of the week. Hopefully we can get to Lake Hoare by the end of the week, but at this point I am not sure how long we’ll be in town.

We already got to have dinner with Taco and signed up for haircuts on Thursday. I still have to decide to resurrect the MoHawk or just buzz it all off and risk ending up with a new nickname this year. The problem is I’ve been liking my hair long, but that won’t really do for the field, so it’ll be coming off one way or another.

Pictures from the flight will be coming soon, once my laptop graduates from screening.

leaving the country

Monday, October 30th, 2006

we are scheduled to fly tomorrow morning (checking in at 6:30am) so hopefully tomorrow afternoon I’ll be in Antarctica. As great as it is here in NZ, I am ready to go.

In the meantime, photos from today (I’m experimenting with Picasa instead of the usual lostman gallery in this post). Click the photo to be taken there…
go to gallery

Centers for Disease Control

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Today we got to try on all out Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) gear at the Clothing Distribution Center (CDC). I got to try on about 30 different pieces of clothing from socks to a fleece body suit to Big Red (the parka) to 8 different pairs of gloves. Half of the stuff inevitably doesn’t fit so you take it to a counter to get a new size from a warehouse filled with thousands of pieces of clothing of every conceivable size and shape (but not many different colors). The process was worlds easier than last year since I knew how each piece ought to fit. When I put on certain items I got all nostalgic, and when I had Big Red all cinched up I got really excited for the first time.

You never know what you are going to get with each piece of clothing – some items are brand new and some are ratty old things with broken zippers. I got a lot of really good items this year in the first round so I am happy. I think all of my gloves fit very well this year, whereas last year I was constantly struggling in the field to find the right gloves. I will definitely miss my neck gaiter (good ol’ greenie – I really should have kept that guy at the end of the season) and my liner gloves. The liner glove is very basic but the ones last year were a little nicer – more stretchy. Of course you never know which piece of clothing is going to come through and be your favorite later in the year.

I made sure to get extra long johns so I can change them out every few days and a bunch of extra socks. I also got the ‘field pants’ for casual wear around camp. Other than that, I don’t really need anything beyond the standard issue stuff. And this year I have a lot of great gear from home.

Our work at the CDC is done so it’s time to head back to town to get my last lamb kebab for 6 weeks. Cross your fingers that we actually fly tomorrow!

Port Hills rambling

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

Today Hassan and I took the bus out to the south edge of town and hiked around the Port Hills. They are the edge of the Banks Peninsula and are part of a group of old volcanoes. There is a lot of interesting history as well, as the early pioneers had to cross the hills from Lyttleton Harbour to get to the farming land around Christchurch. Christchurch City Council has some good info.

It was a beautiful day and we appreciated the sun and green before we head to the ice. The day ended at Lyttleton Harbour where we happened to see the USAP Nathaniel Palmer research vessel coming into port. I have plenty of pictures on, and Hassan has a few on his Picasa site.

Lyttleton Harbour Castle Rock

the 12-hour flight is behind me

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

Traveling has been fairly smooth. The seat was tight and putting my bag under the seat left very little legroom, but I got a lot of sleep in and overall it wasnt that bad of a flight, even though it was 12 hours long. I watched an Aussie movie called Last Train to Freo, fell asleep and then woke up with 2.5 hrs left in the flight, so I think I slept for about 7 hours or so (though I woke up a lot). This morning I watched Thank you for Smoking. Qantas has really good entertainment because they have about 25 movies to choose from, and you can watch them on demand, so you dont have to wait for the one you want to come on. If I didn’t think it was so important to sleep, I would just watch movies all night. They had some old movies like hitchcock and dirty dozen, too.
Customs was long, somehow I ended up one of the last people through, and they cleaned my boots – a word of advice – pack your boots on top! mine were at the very bottom which was quite a hassle. No problems with any of the food, even though I got a question as to how many boxes of pasta I had. You also might want to wash your boots very well so they wont have to take them from you. I had scrubbed mine, but there still were some little bits, and so they washed them anyway. hassan an i got right on the chc flight as they were closing the doors.

So we are already delayed a day. cold weather has kept pole closed, so mcm is filled with people. So we have at least an extra day in ChC and if the weather doesnt improve, it could be longer. So for now we are scheduled to fly on Tuesday, but that could change in either direction depending on what happens. That’s not the worst thing in the world, because the weather is beautiful here and all the flowers are out for spring.

waiting at LAX