Destination – Antarctica

25th December, 2015

The day has finally arrived!

After clearing customs we head out to the tarmac on a fine warm Christchurch morning. The moment I get a glimpse of the somewhat daunting looking South African Hercules is ,”yes I am heading South to Antarctica.”

We board the plane in our multi-layered Antarctic kit which was fitted yesterday. Before being seated, a brown paper bag was thrust in my hands by a smiling burley South African that contained all sorts of goodies for the flight. After getting use to the shaking and shuddering of the old Hercules, the eight hour flight was quite pleasant.

No thrills Hercules.

No thrills Hercules.

I still couldn’t get those damn ear plugs to stay in. I noticed that I was the only one suffering from this rather annoying practice of trying to relocate the plug so they didn’t fall out again. It must have looked as though I was constantly trying to shove a finger in my ear to give them a good clean! The plane was only half full with four Kiwis and the rest American. Fortunately, we had windows which enabled me to take a look at the sea ice developing as we approached the Sub Antarctic.

Sea ice approaching Antarctica.

Sea ice approaching Antarctica.

Then a short time later, there she was in all her glory, Antarctica. Absolutely stunning. We flew down the line of the Trans Antarctic Mountain Range on the approaches to Ross Island and Scott Base.

Trans Antarctic Mountain Range

Trans Antarctic Mountain Range.

After landing the first thing I notice is the rush of cold air. A quick obligatory photo of the old Hercules and off we trundle to Scott Base where we are warmly greeted by Scott Base administration. After refreshments it was a a very comprehensive tour of Scott Base and induction. My first thoughts are “this is one hell of a professional outfit.” The plan tomorrow – Antarctic Field Training.

I'm here, Pegasus runway Ross Island.

I’m here, Pegasus runway Ross Island.