Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Made it to McMurdo (sort of)

I got up this morning at about 4:30AM (I wanted to "sleep in" until 4:45 but I guess I was too nervous) and was outside by 5:05AM to wait for the shuttle to take us to the CDC by 6AM. When no shuttle showed up by 5:35, one of the other people called a few taxis and we made it there exactly at 6AM. Once at the CDC, we all put on our extreme weather gear, checked our bags and got weighed wearing our gear and holding our carry-on bags and boomerang bags, if any.

A "boomerang bag" contains any gear you don't want in your carry-on, but you will want if the flight boomerangs (i.e. returns without making it to McMurdo.) If the flight boomerangs, your checked bag stays at the CDC (all the checked bags are actually piled onto a pallet and wrapped in plastic for the flight, so it's not easy to return them) I stuffed a change of clothes into my computer backpack, so I just had a carry-on.

Once everyone was checked in, we waited around until 9AM, watched a video on what to expect in Antarctica, then piled onto busses and were driven about half a mile to the C-17 military jet. Eventually we took off and settled in for the 5 hour flight to McMurdo. One nice thing about military flights is that they allow the passengers to get up and wander around (as long as there's no turbulence)

We got to McMurdo and the pilot announced that there was nasty weather at the moment so we went into a holding pattern. After about 15 minutes, the pilot said we weren't going to be able to land at McMurdo, so we were returning to Christchurch.

So I'm back in Christchurch for another night! Fortunately, since we don't need to check in bags or sit through the video, we don't need to be outside for the shuttle until 6:15AM!

Here's hoping that we make it tomorrow!

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