The Usual Delays


John Jacobsen
Monday, January 19, 2009

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Earlier post CHC southpole

Later post RNZAF southpole

Woke at 0550h this morning to get the shuttle for our Ice flight to McMurdo. After a quick shower and hauling half my bags downstairs Sandy told me there is a two hour delay. At least they told us before we left for the airport!

Yesterday morning was devoted to buying extra food for the trip. Last year my stomach didn’t like the food at Pole towards the end of my stay. So I bought bananas, granola, apples, dried fruit, granola bars, vitamins… things I know I can eat that I won’t be able get there (or at least as much as I would like). I’m going to try to eat the plain stuff and steer clear of a lot of the rich food there (which can be challenging).

So, I went to the supermarket in a mall south of town (Sandy drove me which was nice) and walked back past all the lovely little shops. The day started out cool but got quite warm, probably almost 80 F.


Figure 1: Trying on Baffin boots at CDC

After lunch we met out at the Clothing Distribution Center (CDC) to try on all our clothes. Just to review, they give us about 40 pounds of cold weather gear, all of which has to be tried on and exchanged if they got your size wrong (or if you just don’t like it). They seem to know more or less exactly which items I take each year now so I didn’t have to give back as much stuff. Nevertheless, despite having done this eight times now, I was STILL the last person to finish!


Figure 2: After the storm



Figure 4: Dux De Lux

We had an afternoon thunderstorm, which was a real treat. Then I had a delicious dinner at the Dux De Lux: ‘groper’ (grouper?), 4 salads, a beer and a delicious dessert called Banoffie Pie, which is essentially a banana cream pie with caramel or dulce de leche — amazing. Then I took a walk in the Botanical Gardens — Mom, if you’re reading this, I so wish I could take you there — you would think you were in heaven. They have thousands of plant species from all over New Zealand and the world. It is truly the perfect place to wander before heading to the coldest, driest, highest, most sterile desert on Earth.


Figure 5: In the Botanical Garden


Figure 6: Big tree, small man



Today, with luck, we head South. Apparently it might be on a Kiwi Herc(ules C-130) — the Kiwis take our planes, and I guess we take theirs sometimes. Several days ago when the Kiwi Hercs were away on some training excercises, they contracted an airline to fly commercial Airbus jets to fly to McMurdo! I’d certainly never heard of that. Anyways, the bummer is that the flying time is 8 hrs on a C-130, as opposed to the 5 hrs I’ve gotten used to on the C-17 they’ve had here the past few years (the C-17 is supposed to be back by the time I head North again).

So, maybe we fly today, maybe we don’t. Sometimes one delay leads to more delays, or a cancellation. We shall see. But for now: breakfast.

Earlier post CHC southpole

Later post RNZAF southpole

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