On the way

9 10 2009

The adventure gets underway. Ayça dropped me off at the Moline Airport this morning under rainy skies. Isn’t she sweet?

Saying goodbye.

Saying goodbye.

Saying goodbye at the curbside was when it really hit me that I’m gonna be gone for over two months, and journeying to the other side of the planet. Sometimes, the process can be come very routine.

So how do you get to Antarctica? Well, if you’re traveling to McMurdo station with the US Antarctic Program (USAP), you pretty much have to go through Christchurch, New Zealand. For me the routing is Moline, IL -> Denver -> L.A. -> Sydney -> Christchurch, flying United and New Zealand Airlines. I’ll meet up with three other team members, including Bill Stone, in Christchurch. We spend about two days there, during which we are issued our Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) gear. Then we’ll be flown by the US Air National Guard from Christchurch to McMurdo. Presumably, we’ll be flying on a modern, jet-powered C-17 Globemaster which gets us there in ~5 hours. But nothing is certain in Antarctica, the alternative is a much smaller, prop-powered C-130 which takes about 9 hours. We’ll spend another 2-3 days in McMurdo, preparing for the field deployment, and then be dropped at Lake Bonney after a 45 min helicopter flight (probably a Bell 212).

Right now, the plane from Denver is about 45 minutes late, hopefully I don’t miss my connection. I do have 5 hours in L.A. if things go sour.

The waiting area in the Quad Cityies Airport

The waiting area in the Quad Cities Airport

Note: Finally managed to fix the typos and the picture here in Sydney. More later.




3 responses

9 10 2009

Oooo–should have waited with you!

10 10 2009

there is still one typo 😉

11 10 2009
Maria Richmond

I actually thought the photo of the two of you sideways was cute!! 🙂 Glad to hear you are in Sidney. Meant to ask Ayca when we called her today whether she had heard from you today. But didn’t.

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