Christchurch, south

January 15, 2007

Well, I’ve made it safe and sound all the way to the south pole, so I’ve got some catching up to do here…

On the 11th, I went to the CDC (Clothing Distribution Center) where we (all of us who are heading south to Antarctica) are issued two (three for those wintering over) tote bags full of ECW (Extreme Cold Weather) clothing. Basically layers of fleece, windbreaker pants/jacket and “Big Red” – a large Canadian goose down jacket. Possibly the warmest jacket mankind has ever known. We grantees get the red ones, Raytheon employees get green or brown ones depending on their job. A grantee is a scientist ‘granted’ the right to go to Antarctica as opposed to employees of RPSC (Raytheon Polar Service Company). Raytheon has the contract with the NSF (National Science Foundation) and the USAP (United States Antarctic Program) to manage all of the logistics, personnel and US stations in Antarctica. Enough acronyms for you?

The next day started early, I was back at the CDC at 5:30am to ‘suit up’ in my ECW for the flight to McMurdo station on the coast of Antarctica. Fortunately, we flew in a C-17 which makes it a 5 hour flight rather than the 8 hour flight on a C-130.

More details and photos when I both get the chance and the satellites are up..

Flying forward in time

January 10, 2007
AA     #602:  1hr 15min
  SFO Jan  8 4:50pm -> LAX Jan  8  6:05pm
Qantas #26:  12hr 30min
  LAX Jan  8 8:30pm -> AKL Jan 10  6:00am
Qantas #4115: 1hr 20min
  AKL Jan 10 9:00am -> CHC Jan 10 10:20am

This has got to be the best alibi ever.

“Alright Beattie, we know it was you! Where were you on the night of Jan 9th 2007?”

“Sorry, that day didn’t exist for me.”

On the other hand, it is now Weds afternoon and the last time I went to bed was Sunday night. Two double-lattes and walking around the square in Christchurch is required for staying awake for dinner (at least). Just remember to look to the right when crossing the street (they drive on the wrong side of the street here).

Prep for going to the South Pole

January 7, 2007

Ok, to keep all you who are interested in my adventure to the bottom of the Earth – on the edge of your keyboards with my witty repartee, photos and maybe a video or two – here it is: the promised blog.

I’m been busy packing and preparing all weekend, so this post is pretty much a place-holder. I’ll post more details as I have time, but for now here’s some links with interesting info about Antarctica, the South Pole and the IceCube project I’m working on.

I leave tomorrow…