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All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go

plane to Antarctica

We’re currently “stuck” in New Zealand, waiting for the weather to clear at McMurdo Station in Antarctica so we can fly in to begin our preparations for field work. There’s been a storm hovering off the Ross Sea not far from McMurdo since Monday (Nov. 5th), and conditions there have been too risky for a plane to fly in. Our planned departure date from Christchurch to McMurdo was three days ago, and before the storm hit McMurdo, we were still scheduled to fly down at 10 am.

ecw plane

After arriving at the Clothing Distribution Center (CDC) at 7 am, putting on our Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) clothing, checking our bags, preparing a “boomerang” bag (a set of clothing and toiletries in case our flight couldn’t fly out), and going through the screening and briefing, we spent a while sitting in the C-17 military jet in the hopes that the next weather report from McMurdo would be good enough for us to fly. Unfortunately, the weather down south turned stormy, and we all piled off the plane again and headed back into Christchurch to wait for better weather.


For the past four days, the weather has not cleared so we’ve been grounded in lovely Christchurch. While we’re impatient to get to Antarctica to prepare our equipment for field work, the only real downside of being in Christchurch is being limited to one set of clothes, as the others are in our checked luggage. We’ve been splitting our time here between working on proposals for future scientific work and seeing some of the local sights, breathing in the beautiful surrounding countryside before hitting the ice, and enjoying some tasty meals of fresh vegetable and salads that will be in short supply once we get to McMurdo and our field camp on a glacier.

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