Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Back in Mac

I'm back on Antarctica, on the coast at McMurdo Base.

The day after I arrived in Christchurch I went back to the CDC (clothing distribution center) for the usual 35 minute briefing on Antarctica (don't litter, don't mess with the animals, don't slip, trip, or fall, etc.) then tried on my assigned ECW (extreme cold weather) gear to make sure it all fit, then ran around town on last minute errands. I got to bed early so I'd be up and ready for the 6AM shuttle.

I made it out of my room with time to spare, but the shuttle company forgot to send a shuttle so my traveling companions and I arrived at the CDC late and the rest of the morning was much more abbreviated than normal. There's usually time for a somewhat leisurely breakfast at a nearby cafe (while wearing Carhartts and big South Pole boots) but today we went right into another briefing (don't litter, don't mess with the animals, don't slip, trip, or fall) then after a brief bathroom break we were herded onto a bus and whisked out to the plane.

There were only 10 of us flying on the plane, so we were seated in a corridor on the left side of the plane. A bunch of military were seated in a corridor on the right side of the plane. The rest of the plane was full of cargo (barrels of some substance, pallets of food, etc.) After a shortish 4.5 hour flight, we landed in Antarctica!

We took a short 10 minute van ride from the ice runway into town, sat through another briefing (don't litter, don't mess with the animals, don't slip, trip, or fall) then got our dorm assignments. I'm traveling with Dag, the new IceCube winter-over, and we were sharing a room with night shift person, so we quietly dropped our bags and ECW gear off at the room and then I showed Dag the McMurdo tourist spots until suppertime.

After supper we grabbed our computers and logged some Internet time then headed up to the Cargo building for our 7PM "bag drag", where they weighed our checked baggage, then weighed us and our carry-on bags, then stuck our checked bags on a pallet so they'll be ready to load onto the plane tomorrow.

The plane to the South Pole has been cancelled every day for the last 4 days due to bad weather, so I'm a LITTLE worried that I'll be spending more "quality" time in McMurdo. I prefer to think that after four bad days, surely they're overdue for a good day!

Sorry for the lack of pictures, my camera USB cable is packed in the suitcase which is sitting on a pallet somewhere out on the ice.

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