Christchurch, New Zealand – springboard for ANTARCTICA!

Monday, December 7 (Sunday, Dec 6 in the USA)

Antarctica-12-8-09 00427 hours and 3 planes later, I arrived (with about 20 other US Antarctic Program folks) in Christchurch, New Zealand; tired, but excited to be on my way.  The first day was spent in a jet lag stupor walking around this adorable city.  The people are laid back and friendly.   I am fortunate to be traveling with a scientist from the WAIS Divide Ice Core Project, Anais Orsi.  She has generously taken me under her wing, reducing my stress immensely.

Today, we all headed down to the CDC (Clothing Distribution Center) to gather our Extreme Weather Gear and re-pack our luggage in order to be ready for the 8AM flight to McMurdo tomorrow.  The hardest part was putting on all the layers I will need on the West Antarctic plateau to insure that they fit and work well together.   It was about 70 degrees F today so I was a walking sauna!  I now have plenty of clothing to stay toasty warm on the plateau.

After everything was sorted into checked, carry-on, boomerang and stored bags, I enjoyed the sunny day.  Signs of the Antarctic program are all over the city.  First, the statue of Robert Falcon Scott in a park downtown and also the Antarctic Center and collection of Antarcticana in the Canterbury Museum.  But also, it is apparent that many businesses rely heavily on the yearly migration of USAP personnel through this town. The B & B that I am staying in coordinates with the program and will notify us early if the days flight has been canceled so we can sleep in.

The shuttle picks us up tomorrow at 5:115, so its off to bed.  Check back tomorrow for photos!

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