day 1 The Ice -Friday October 16,
Christchurch -> Scott Base, Antarctica.
Up at 4am, no sleeping, too much thinking,
Pack, repack bags, load pockets with useful stuff then forget where everything is.
Health check at US Antarctic office – temperature and ebola
Customs card, passport check all by NZ army staff at US office. All units of measurement in Fahrenheit, pounds etc.
Quick breakfast at Antarctic Centre then video briefing .
Quick change into big boots and snow trousers.
then onto the bus.
FLIGHT:: Helicopter in the C17 with us, its blades packed away in a long yellow box.
It took something between 4-5 hours.
Distracted by two tiny porthole windows. Trying to steal the first view of Antarctic sea ice. Excited as.
Eventless flight. Sunny clear day to land. You only get to land in Antarctica when the weather is perfect. Attempted to document my feet touching the ground [sea ice] but failed. Too much to juggle – bags, gear, giant moon boots and footage was too handheld with the potential to give you motion sickness.
Scott Base: Weather -19 – -12. Sunny, clear, blue, mirages sighted.
More briefing/induction – tour of facilities, health and safety.
After dinner K131 meeting – optional for me, but I go. Tired but interested!
Discuss logistics and planning for Otago work vs CS K131 project. Seems like the greater team will be split into two smaller groups. CS, TH, CS, GO to field camp, Otago to be mostly based at Scott Base with daily side trips to take sea ice cores and make measurements. I am allocated my own studio container that I will have to share with food and water storage and Learnz when they come to visit.
Field Training is a mystery. It may happen at the camp, or Scott Base. Can’t really go anywhere until this is sorted. FAM trip to Scott’s Hut is fully booked.
Weather turns. Watched the wind blow the surface snow across the sea ice. Much like sea-spray. Reminds me of my thoughts from the South Project publication: “The landscape writes and rewrites itself” Very easy to lose time staring out the windows.
Category 1 weather over night [worst kind – no out door activity]
Drinking loads of water. Skin drying like paper already.
Read part of the first chapter of Alok Jha’s book – Water. All about Antarctica..and sea sickness.
I cough in the night but sleep like a log with ear-plugs. A long week.