After days of traveling
I've finally made to New Zealand. I know, it's not Antarctica, but
at least it's closer to the ice than San Diego ever will be.
On Thursday October 18 I left
my comfort zone in Central California and boarded a plane for a place far
more dangers than Fresno. Of course I am talking about Los Angeles, which
was my first stop on my agenda. I flew in a small puddle hopper plane
to L.A., but soon traded it in for a much more comfortable 747.
I flew on the 747 from L.A. to
Auckland, New Zealand (NZ). Total flying time for that flight was
around 12 and a half hours. Now in the process of traveling to NZ
not only did I cross the Pacific Ocean, but I also crossed the International
Dateline. So I boarded the plane Thursday night around nine o'clock,
but when I got off the plane it was 6 o'clock in the morning on Saturday.
So while flying, I lost an entire day.
Anyway, Auckland was the first
city that I landed in when I got to NZ. From there I continued to
fly south to Christchurch (CHCH). CHCH is the home to the International
Antarctic Center (IAC). The IAC is the gateway to the Antarctic for
the U.S., New Zealand, and Italian Antarctic Programs.
When I landed in Christchurch
I picked up my baggage and met with a US Antarctic Program representative.
He gave me my information on what hotel I was staying at and also gave
me the time for when I was to report to the Clothing Distribution Center
(CDC) for my Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) clothing issue.
After making it to my hotel, with
was the Christchurch YMCA, I met up with a couple other ice people on their
way to Antarctica and we went out for a little sight seeing and dinner.
Christchurch is a small city, but it's rich with specialty shops and great
restaurants. One of the highlights of our day was walking through
the Botanical Gardens. Since New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere,
October is spring time and all the flowers were beginning to bloom.
The next day I reported to the CDC to
try on all my cold weather clothing. It seemed silly to try on every
pair of gloves and every clothing article, but it's the only way to be
sure your clothing will keep you warm in Antarctica.
After my trip to the CDC, which took
a couple hours, I met back up with my new found friends and we headed off
to dinner one last time in a temperate environment. Since we needed
to be back at the International Antarctica Center the next day to prepare
for our flight to Antarctica at six in the morning, we made it an early
night and got a good night of sleep; even though it was hard to sleep thinking
of what's to come in the following days in Antarctica. Hopefully
our flight will make it on the first try and we'll be in McMurdo tomorrow.