Diana, Breana and Ed left home on December 26th, met up with each other (and several other scientists in route to Antarctica!) in Los Angelos, California, and boarded a flight to Aukland, New Zealand. Unfortunately, Byron was delayed in Salt Lake City, Utah, and had to come on a later flight. We missed him very much! The flight takes approximately 14 hours, and it leaves L.A. at night, so that the flight staff can feed us and put us to bed. If you can’t sleep on the flight, each seat has it’s own television, and you can watch movies, television, listen to the radio, or even play video games!

We try to get as much sleep as possible on the flight, because we arrive in New Zealand at 6:00 a.m. (we skip a day, because we cross the international date line) and have to get our luggage, go through customs, walk to the other terminal, and board another plane. New Zealand is comprised of a north and south island, and we need to get to the south island in order to pick up our gear and fly to McMurdo.

New Zealand

Once we landed in Christchurch, we headed to the Clothing Distribution Center (CDC) to try on our extreme cold weather (ECW) gear. All people flying to Antarctica are required to wear their ECW gear. We are issued thermal underwear, wool socks, various gloves, mittens, and hats, wind pants, fleece pants, a fleece jacket, a neck gator, goggles, bunny boots, a wind jacket (we call it “little red”) and a large parka (we call it “big red”). All of this gear will keep us warm in Antarctica, but it’s SUMMER in New Zealand right now, so waiting for a plane in your ECW gear can get VERY hot.

Our deployment time is 2:15 a.m. which we all think is fairly ridiculous. Why even bother going to sleep? Byron finally arrived this evening, but neither he nor Breana have received their luggage from Qantas. If it doesn’t get here by 2:00 a.m., the next scheduled flight is for January 2, 2008, so they will be without their luggage for a while! Neither of them are very happy about this.

But by tomorrow we will be in Antarctica! Hooray!