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November 12th, 2013 - Christchurch, NZ & McMurdo Station, Ant

Going to the ice

by Mary Tilton

Tilton Head Shot

Today seemed almost like a repeat of yesterday, except today our flight wasn’t cancelled. It was another not-so-restful night; must have been all the excitement of the trip! Our shuttle picked us up at 5:30 a.m. to take us to the CDC to change into ECW and get our bags packed, weighed, and checked. The whole process took about half an hour and after we received our boarding passes, we relaxed in the lounge, watched the Cowboys/Saints game, and viewed some pre-flight videos.

Three Amigos at rest
Terry, Steve, and Andrew in the lounge, waiting to leave.

Before our flight we walked through a security line to scan our carry-on luggage and then boarded a bus for a short drive across the street to the tarmac. Our C-17 was waiting for us there along with a sack lunch. Once everyone was seated, pre-flight checks and announcements were completed and we were in the air less than 10 minutes later and about 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

in C-17
Sleeping, reading, or otherwise entertaining ourselves during flight.

The flight lasted 5 hours, and we had no boomerang! A boomerang is a term used when you fly part way to McMurdo and then return to Christchurch because of bad weather in McMurdo. We landed on the sea ice in front of the station.  The view of Ross Island and Mt Erebus was stunning and the air unsurprisingly cold. 

Immediately after exiting the plane, we took a quick few photos and were ushered to vehicles that would take us off the sea ice to McMurdo Station, located on Ross Island.

McMurdo Station at Last
McMurdo Station from the ice runway. Mt Erebus is in the background.

When we arrived in McMurdo, we were led to building 155 (the Galley) for a briefing on important matters during our stay, and then we made our way to our dorms. We picked up our checked luggage and bedding and unpacked our belongings. Another meeting, some scheduling, then dinner was served in the Galley a short while later. After running around all day, sleep started calling around 8 p.m. Tomorrow: training, training, training!