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Geared Up and Ready to Fly

October 9, 2008

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND– Things have been a bit on edge here in Christchurch over the last few days or so. The problem has been the bad weather down at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. And all talk revolves around flight schedules. Before today only the first “Main Body” flight reached Antarctica while others were boomeranged and even canceled. Today the second flight made it, landing around 3:15 local time. Another red-eye flight should be departing a mere few hours from now. With things already backed up, everyone is getting really excited because we’re all waiting for the moment to get in the air bound for the Ice. If flight 3 makes it, the ONH Team is scheduled to fly tomorrow afternoon. Although we were originally supposed to be on the sixth flight out, we have been bumped-up to join number 4. Here’s wishing the folks on 3 on safe and successful flight (no boomerang!).

Clothing Distribution Center (CDC).

Today we went to the Clothing Distribution Center (CDC) to try on our Extreme Cold Weather Gear (ECW) to make sure everything fit well and was free from defect. I was able to get back into the warehouse where all the gear is stored. It was a sea of red! To see all the racks of “Big Reds,” and shelves full of “Bunny Boots” and thermals was most impressive. It really gave me the sense of how many people go through the CDC.

The warehouse of ‘Big Reds’.

When it was time to try everything on, we went into a large room where everyone’s packed bags were laid out in a row down the center. I promptly opened the bags up and started to go through and test all my gear out, piece by piece.

All of our gear lined up.

Trying on my wind pants.

Mostly everything fit ok, and I only had to change out a couple of items, notably that my issued parka had a large hole in the side of it! With a different parka in hand, I dressed as I will in the field.

Making sure my ‘Big Red’ fits.

It was after this that the Team started to learn that the flight schedule had been changed and that it’s possible that we will fly out tomorrow. The anticipation and excitement built quickly. It’s promising that another flight got in….we’re going to Antarctica tomorrow! This feeling of being on the brink of the adventure beginning became more apparent when we all got back to the hotel. On the desk was the manifest listing our report time to deploy to McMurdo.

The flight manifest.

So with a mood of celebration and excitement, the majority of the team who are here in Christchurch had a lovely dinner together at Dux de Lux to toast our journey.

The Offshore New Harbor Team dinner before deployment.

It is with these warm thoughts and good feelings that I go to bed to dream of the Ice.

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One Response »

  1. Howie,
    I have been exploring the Offshore New Harbor Expedition site and have read many of your journal entries. I find your adventures very interesting as my son, Brian, is on the expedition with you. He e-mails me but it is great to see your pictures and compare experiences. I teach a group of 28 seventh graders in Broadus, MT so I am keeping them up to speed with your project. I will e-mail questions once you get up and running. Best wishes for a safe trip. Hopefully you find answers to what you are searching for. Take care.