Ice Landing

 

Landing on the ice!

 

Hola ice runway fans,

     After 3 more days of cooling our heels in Christchurch, which included the hardship of mountain biking around town one afternoon and renting a car to drive to a pleasant French settled town on another, we finally got the green light for another try at Antarctica, so we boarded the familiar C-17 and settling in for another 5 hour run to the ice. There was a collective sigh of relief when our pilot announced that we were given clearance to land, and the frozen runway proved to be a pretty smooth place to set the monster plane down. The cold blast as we exited was exhilarating and Big Red, the 10 pound coat that we were issued for the journey was just what we needed to protect against the elements. Next was a ride in an all terrain made-for-Mars vehicle called a Delta, which had as much comfort as a bucking bronco, and after an hour of bouncing around we parked at McMurdo station, our home for the next 6 months. We were issued rooms, linen and told to report for an orientation at 7:30 the next morning like new recruits on the island of misfit toys as the winter doc likes to refer to his time on this frozen rock. We ‘re actually on Ross Island off the coast of the main continent, but since the sea is frozen this time of year it all looks the same.

            I was assigned a roommate who snores like a chainsaw, so I was able to change rooms this afternoon and will see who my new roommate is tomorrow if the next flight makes it here. The cold, winds, and mechanical problems have delayed the second flight for 4 days now, but we’re told that another 100 folks will join us tomorrow. It’s a solid -15 with a wind chill of -43 right now, so I’ll bundle up with hat, goggles, gloves, Big Red and mini ice cleats for the walk back to my room in a few minutes, but a hot shower is all that it takes to forget that not much can survive outside the walls of my room. The food’s been great and all the people here have an interesting story to tell, so the adventure is in full swing. Hope you’re warm and cozy and wish me luck when I roll the dice for a non snoring, non alcoholic, non all night partying roommate.       Cheers,

             On the Ice Bob