Antarctica
Try Again



We were lucky, they woke us up to tell us that the flight for Thursday had been cancelled. Another day off, another day in Christchurch, and some sleep after our very long day.

For most of us, the day was little more than catching up on sleep, and recovering from the boomerang. I was able to make a call to mom, and let her know I was still in Christchurch. I'd been putting it off, thinking that I'd wait 'til I was on the ice, but it didn't happen that way.

That evening, the note went up, they were being gentle on us, and reporting time was 5:45 for an 8am departure.

Friday felt like the lucky day, the weather had cleared on the ice, and the reports were promising.

After the same process of dressing, checking in, sitting through the aircraft safety briefing, the security screening, we were back on the bus for the plane. Since it was raining, they let us sit on the bus rather than lining up on the ramp. I was the 12th person on the plane and got very lucky. I ended up at the very end of the center row, that allowed me to turn sideways and have a lot more leg room. It also gave me a small space to stand and stretch.

Me standing about half way through the trip.

 

Thanks Bruce!

We departed Christchurch shortly after 8:15, yet another try. The flight seemed to progress a little more rapidly, but it was probably only the optimism that we might make it, and the slightly more comfortable seat.

About 12:30 the announcement came. "We have passed PSR, and will be landing in McMurdo a little more than an hour." PSR - Point of Safe Return. We were committed. The cheer went up, there was a very happy group in the back of that aircraft.

With no windows, it is difficult to judge just how far away the ground is. The descent seemed to take forever, but finally, there was that bump, another short cheer, and we were on the ground.

Of course being in the back, meant it took quite a while to get off. Just outside the aircraft, the air was crisp, and it was white everywhere. The mountains looked spectacular, we were quickly herded on to 'Ivan'.

Ivan the Terra Bus
It is only a 10 minute ride to town. My first impression of McMurdo is that of a mining town. It sits in a bowl shaped depression, since it sits on volcanic soil looks black. There is no plant life, so it looks rather desolate. Lots of industrial style buildings.

We spent about an hour at our 'in brief' getting information on what not to do, where to find things, and when some of the classes we needed would be. After that, we picked up our room keys. Bruce and I were in for a surprise, when we found our room, we had a room for 6, and all the bottom bunks were already taken.

A brief tour from the head of our department, and a quick trip to pick up our bags, and it was about diner time.

A quick visit for diner, and a trip to the lab for the lecture and film on recreation around the station. It's required before you can leave the area on a hike. Early to bed, the first day of work was Saturday, and work had become a forein concept over the past couple of weeks.


Page Eight - McMurdo         Start Page

10/30/98