After a week of weather delays, we finally arrived in Antarctica yesterday. Even after the anticipation of working on SPIDER for three years and the year delay after the government shutdown and our final delay in Christchurch, my excitement was not disappointed. This place exceeds all expectations. I have been saying WOW a lot the past couple of days. It is unreal- like a different world. I feel so lucky to be able to see it. I hope my pictures and descriptions can do it some small amount of justice!
Our day started yesterday with a 5:30 am shuttle to the airport. We boarded a C17 at around 8:30, and were in the air a bit after 9. It was a five and a half hour flight to the Ice. Very noisy, but with ear plugs not so bad. Certainly a unique flying experience!
After arriving on the Ice, it was an hour shuttle ride to town. There we started our long list of orientation, safety, and training info sessions. We beat almost all of our cargo down here, so for now, there is very little work we can do on SPIDER. This has given us an opportunity to explore and get situated before we become incredibly busy. Happily, 7 more members of our team arrived this morning, so we are all getting adjusted and adventuring together.
After getting the newcomers moved in and settled, some of us went on a little hike out to Hut Point. It provided some really scenic views and brought us near our first wildlife: seals!
It is about 14 F here in McMurdo, -3 with windchill. But I was sweating on our hike. ECW (Extreme Cold Weather) gear is very good stuff indeed. We were all decked out in our Big Reds and ski pants, except Jon, who opted for his fancy pants Icelandic brand stuff.
And to end, here is a group shot from Steve.