Antarctica in Pictures, Part 1: Getting There

Just a quick review: I left on Thanksgiving Day, 25 November, from Seattle.

Antarctica. South America is from the top left corner, and New Zealand is below the image.
So, we needed to fly commercial to Christchurch, New Zealand; then fly in an US Air Force C-17
to McMurdo Station; then fly again in an Air National Guard ski-equipped LC-130 to a spot just above
the top of the "T" in "Transantarctic Mountains". | nsf.gov
Seattle-Los Angeles-Auckland-Christchurch.  After more than 24 hours of travel, we have two nights to recover in Christchurch.  My first morning I took one last run in the green at the Botanical Gardens. | photo Seth Campbell

The Christchurch Cathedral, which survived the earthquakes earlier this year.

photo Seth Campbell

photo Seth Campbell

In the afternoon we had to go to the CDC (which I think means Christchurch Distribution Center) to get issued
clothing.  The United States Antarctic Program insists that you bring their kit, regardless of what you're bringing, so
that they don't have to inspect and check every single passenger's kit. | photo Seth Campbell

In the end, everything I needed fit into one duffel, one ski bag, and two carry-ons.

The team +1 (L-R): Dr Clair Todd, Kristin (Seth's fiancĂ©e), Seth Campbell, Mike Vermeulen, Dr Greg Balco, and Kat Huybers.

The C-17 flight typically takes 4.5 hours.

The view for those 4.5 hours. | photo Seth Campbell

My first site of the last continent.

In the early summer, we land at the Sea Ice Runway, which is only a few kilometers from town. Later in the summer the ice will melt and break up into flows, forcing the USAP to move to another runway on the Ross Ice Shelf, which takes about an hour to reach by vehicle. | photo Seth Campbell

Still, it was easier to catch a ride on Ivan the Terra-Bus!

McMurdo Station sits on the very end of the Hut Point Peninsula.  The site was selected because it is the furthest south that is reachable by open water.  Dorms and work spaces take up the left quarter of the photo.  Cargo lines and more work spaces take up the remaining area.  Non-perishable and non-time sensitive supplies, including fuel, are delivered once a year in February.  Flights are used primarily to bring personnel and critical materials. New Zealand's Scott Base is located on the other side of the point (behind the photographer). The US Antarctic Program and Antarctica New Zealand have a great partnership:  in return for special visas for US personnel and the logistical operations to be headquartered in Christchurch, the USAP transports supplies and equipment to Scott Base. | photo Mike Vermeulen