Getting to Christchurch took a while as our flight was delayed by about an hour, but at least we weren't trying to go any further, because today's flight to Antarctica was cancelled due to bad weather down on the ice. That means there will be two flights going down tomorrow, and I'm quite pleased that ours is the second flight that will leave at about 10am.
On the flight down from Wellington, I met three other people heading south: two from LINZ who are surveyors and one from GNS Science. Gerry has been to Antarctica twice before - the first time 20 years ago, Andrew once and Chris never. They're going to be on the same flight tomorrow, so I'm glad I won't be the only newbie on board.
Woody picked us up from the airport and brought us over to the Antarctica NZ offices and Clothing Warehouse. (Woody has worked for Antarctica NZ for over 30 years, so he's a good person to know.) Everyone who goes to Scott Base shares some of the same experiences,and one of the first things you have to do is report to the Clothing Warehouse so you can get kitted out with all the gear you need, and special kit bags to put your stuff in. It’s important to have the right extreme cold weather clothing (ECW) for outdoor wear – so Antarctica NZ makes sure you do.
Guy Frederick (who is my team mate on the programme for writers, artists and media people) and I had our kit-out sessions at the same time in two different rooms while Bob went from one room to the other, making sure everything was the right size and fitted properly. The trickiest thing is working out the correct order to put things on – there’s a sequence of layers (base layer, mid layer and outer layer) that you need to get right, and then you need to figure out – and remember – which pockets to put things in – gloves, hats, camera…
So this afternoon I tried on:
4 different jackets
7 different pairs of gloves
2 pairs of socks
2 pairs of boots
A balaclava, a hood, and neck gaiter - and once you have those on, as well as the heaviest duty jacket all zipped up, you're not supposed to have any skin showing (also you have to work out how to breathe through all the layers)
Then Woody explained what to wear on the plane tomorrow and what to pack in which bag.
And do you know how many pockets there are altogether? (I just counted them)
32 pockets! No wonder it's hard to remember what goes where.
|Where I spent yesterday afternoon: the Antarctic NZ Clothing Store|
©Antarctica New Zealand Pictorial Collection; CC licence