Ice Flight to McMurdo

Monday, November 3, 2014. Flew down to the ice. Here’s how my day went:

6AM: We were driven to the USAP center at the airport (where we got our ECW gear). Dressed in our ECW gear (carharts over our street clothes, plus our bunny boots, with big red, gloves, neck gaiter and hat close by), repacked our bags, left any items we wouldn’t need in storage. Total 2 checked bags, 1 boomerang bag, and 1 carry on. I took a long time getting all this sorted out so I had no time for breakfast.

Passport? Check.
Passport? Check.

7AM: Checked in for the flight. They weighed us with all of our gear and carry on, then weighed our bags. Had 2 more informational videos we had to watch before we were allowed to line up and pass through one last security screening. They got us all onto two buses and shuttled us out to where the C17 was waiting.

The C-17 taking us to McMurdo
The C-17 taking us to McMurdo
C-17 selfie!
C-17 selfie!
Boarding the plane
Boarding the plane

9AM: Takeoff! Thoughts going through my head: “Holy shit! I hope we don’t get boomeranged! OMG we’re actually going! What excitement! Time to read more of Gone Girl.”

Inside the C-17
Inside the C-17
Bundled up in ECW gear, getting ready to land!

2PM: Hustle to get your ECW gear on before they open the plane door… Yikes, that’s cold. We get off the plane, and there is no way you can prepare for how extremely white and empty it is here. Just, wow. Holy crap. We’re here. I’ve never seen this much white before. I hear two people say, “It looks like Minnesota.”

First steps
I only managed to take this one picture with my clumsy, gloved fingers… oh well.

 3PM: After a 1-hour bumpy ride to the station in the craziest looking bus thing I’ve ever seen, and after dropping off the Kiwis at Scott Base, we reach McMurdo Station. We have, oh boy, MORE orientation lectures. By this point I’m so overwhelmed that I can’t remember anything anymore. My roommate, another meteorologist/weather observer, helps me sort out my luggage and bedding.

Building 155. Fondly nicknamed IKEA, or the Smurf building
Building 155. My new home for the next few days. Fondly nicknamed IKEA, or the Smurf building

5PM: I have met so many people over the past few days and now I’m surrounded by a crowd of even more new faces. What I learn at dinner: always take the fresh fruit and veggies when you can.

7:30PM: Excited, overwhelmed, exhausted, and with a case of “the crud,” I pass out and sleep for 12 hours. (The “crud” = having a cold)


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