Monday, November 2, 2015

Delayed again!

This morning I woke up to my alarm, eyes flying open... today's the day! We had to report at the Antarctic Centre at 6:30 AM to check our bags, get debriefed, and board our ice flight. Nat, Drew and I met up at 6:10 in the lobby of our hotel to head over (thankfully we're right next door!). We got in and had to hurry up and get all of our gear ready.
The International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch NZ... this is the view from the balcony of my hotel room!

In the cargo hold we are allowed a "boomerang bag" (I'll explain that in a minute) and two checked bags - one with our personal affects and long underwear, the other with the cold weather gear that we don't wear on the flight.

Nat and I all set with our boarding passes
To get on the plane you need your boots, snow pants, and parkas, as well as a hat and some gloves handy for when you land. You're also allowed a carry-on like any other air plane containing computers, entertainment for the flight, and the provided USAP packed lunch. After going through security - and watching the mandated briefing movies - we were all set to go! We clambered onto the bus with the rest of the participants and made our way to the airfield where the Air-Force C-17 Cargo Jet was waiting. It was HUGE. We all lined up in row, and buckled into our seats. In the middle of the plane there were large cargo boxes containing who knows what - all headed for the ice. They handed out earplugs as the engines were so incredibly loud. Once the kiwi pilots were all ready we finally took off. But then... the unexpected happened!!! Dunh Dunh Dunhhhhhh! About an hour and a half into the flight we had to turn around and come right back to Christchurch!! :( Apparently something was broken on the plane, and they thought it would be safer to  just come back and fix it. Well, they said it would only take 3 hours, but after 2 had passed, they just decided to send us back to our hotels and try again tomorrow.
Drew and Nat strapped into their plane seats.
Thankfully I'd taken care to pack my boomerang bag! Now these are special bags tagged with an orange tag specifically for things like toiletries, pajamas and a change of clothes. They get placed at the top of the cargo hold for easy access. This is in case you "boomerang" or get turned around mid flight like we did. Apparently this happens a lot... mostly for weather - Antarctica being the coldest, windiest, and stormiest place on Earth and all. So now we're all cozy back at our hotel in Christchurch. We decided to just stay in for the day as we're pretty beat. I suppose it's nice to get some rest before we get down to McMurdo where we'll have plenty of things to keep us busy! Plus we'll be able to enjoy a final L&P and try out some of the fancy New Zealand netflix selections. Our report time tomorrow is 6:30 AM again. Fingers crossed that everything will be fixed and we'll be able to finally get to the ice!

Until then,
Emelia Chamberlain  

No comments:

Post a Comment