T +1: No Antarctica yet, Waiting in Christchurch, New Zealand

Submitted by anelles on Tue, 11/03/2015 - 14:28

We should have made it by now. But ... weather in Antarctica is one of the craziest things on the planet. Meaning that you are scheduled for check-in to fly at 6:30 in the morning, but might receive a call at 4:30 in the morning that the flight will not happen. So we are waiting in Christchurch. For better weather in Antarctica and also for better weather in Christchurch. The warm and beautiful spring day from yesterday -- very strange by the way when you come from the dry and fall-like Southern California -- has changed into a muddy grey with a constant drizzle.

Our team has made it to Sydney and is greeted by Christmas. Depending on cultural background, this seems way too early.

Now in Christchurch. Too sunny to keep your eyes open in a picture.

This the outside is therefore not calling for us, we have made our way into a bar. No, not to drink. Despite the recent news on scientists drinking to much in Antartica http://www.wired.com/2015/10/scientists-antarctica-drink-lot-maybe-much/ , this is not really what happens here. We check on the stations and just continue with the work we would otherwise do at the University. (And I am not just saying this, because our boss and the funding agencies might be reading this ;) )

Also, this gives me the opportunity to catch up on what has happend so far. We made it to New Zealand on time with a very nice Quantas flight. The only thing that did not make it, was Chris' bag. To be fair, it might not have quite fit into the hand-carry criteria (some people have different standards what they mean by travelling light, it seems ... ) but the Quantas lady in LAX really would not have need to check it. After all, Chris had three seats to himself on the flight and his bag was not big enough to be luggage for three people. In any case, it has been found and might be on its way. In that sense handy, since a stay in Antarctica without any base-layers and socks is not really what you are looking for.

So after a short night, we went to the CDC to get our ECW. No clue, what I am talking about, great I am also just getting the hang of it. The people at the Clothing Distribution Center (CDC) are in charge of making sure that you have had a flu shot, bring a virus free computer, understand how the whole luggage policy on the flight works and to give you your Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) gear. With 8 ladies in the changing room (surprisingly many for normal physics circumstances), I did not really feel like taking pictures -- sorry guys. So, you will have to bear with me telling you what we got. Fotos of us wearing the gear will certainly come later.

Of course you get the famous red parkas, called "big red", that you always see on the pictures. It is not that accidentally everyone went color coordinated, but they are fantastically warm, super handy with a bazillion pockets, and just the default. The rest of the equipment is tailored to what you are doing specifically. People going to pole -- "where is it always cold", quote from our training video -- get different things than people "just" near the coast. After having tried on every single piece of equipment, you pack them in the orange bags with your name on them and leave them behind. To pick them up on the next day for your flight -- or not. If you get delayed, like we did.

Feeling very patriotic at the CDC in the screening room. The video even assured the German team member, that she was hear to make her country proud!

Big footsteps to fill. 100 years of research before us.