Thursday, November 5, 2015


After three days of delays and some extra time to explore New Zealand, we finally made it to McMurdo Station! At 6:30 this morning we reported to the CDC, put on our ECW gear, and headed to the terminal. A few hours later, after some presentations and security screenings, we climbed on to the U.S. Air Force C-17 cargo jet with our packed lunches for the second time, hoping we wouldn't have to turn around again. There were also twice the amount of passengers than the first try (about 90 in total), as another group of people had come in since our arrival last Saturday. Seats lined the two side walls of the plane and some extra seating was put in towards the front. All the other space was was packed high with luggage, food needed in McMurdo, and other equipment and supplies. I was able to go to the upper level at the front of the plane where the pilots and other crew members stayed.
The ceiling inside of the plane

View of the passengers from the pilot's back window

Cargo in the middle of the plane (lots of bananas!)

Our total time in the air was about 5 hours. For a few hours towards the end of the flight if you looked out the window (there were only about 4 in total), all you could see was sea ice and sky.
View from the tiny window
We soon reached Antarctica, but it took us a while to land because there was a penguin in the way of our landing spot. Unfortunately, that penguin was inland, away from others, and maybe on its way to death. 
We got off the plane and stepped directly onto the ice, where a crew of people awaited us. The combination of the incredible amount of bright white ice, sudden cold air, and light but unexpected snowfall was overwhelming. We hurried on to a big red shuttle where "Shuttle Bob" greeted us and drove us about 40 minutes to McMurdo (the shuttle moves very slowly on the ice).
Getting off the plane after landing on the ice runway in McMurdo!
Shuttle that transported us from the plane to the station

Drew and Emma bundled up on the way to McMurdo Station
Once we arrived we went into the building that holds most of the science labs and began our orientation. We watched some presentations and got our dorm room assignments (although we will only be here for a few nights before we make a tent our new home). We then ate dinner in the Galley (the big dining hall), and picked up our bags and linens.
Tomorrow morning we start training for field scientists and begin to prepare our supplies!

Some NSF buildings in "Mactown"

One of our field sites, Mt Discovery 

Royal Society range

-Natalie Robinson


  1. Natalie, I love all the pictures as well as your descriptions. Even this sentence, harsh as it is: "Unfortunately, that penguin was inland, away from others, and maybe on its way to death." Love ya! Ms. Cohen