BY Peyton Adkins
Today will be my first full day in McMurdo, Antarctica! McMurdo serves as the United States Antarctic science facility and harbors approximately 1200 people at one time. Currently there are 917 residents here!
Back in New Zealand we received our cold weather gear, which includes everything from socks to thick warm jackets with a fur-lined hood. Before we flew out we were briefed and trained on several different aspects of environmental safety and network protection. One of the biggest points the program drives home is that we can’t disturb the wildlife…there goes my plan for bringing home a penguin! We arrived in Antarctica yesterday on a Boeing C-17 flown by the U.S. Air Force. That was an incredible experience to say the least. It was loud and obviously very powerful. The flight only lasted about 4.5 hours, a walk in the park compared to the 13-hour flight from the States to New Zealand.
When we landed on the ice it was 10º F, which is fairly cold but not too unbearable. What I noticed was that the cold here is different than anything I have ever experienced before. It is incredibly dry here, which is an obvious change from the very humid climates back in Louisiana. The cold seems to seep down into your very bones!
When we stepped off the plane we were immediately bused to an orientation briefing that went over some of the specifics that we need to know for our stay; for example, what to do if I get locked out of my room. Then we went about picking up our baggage, getting our room assignments, picking up bedding for our rooms, and just getting settled overall.
One of the main differences in this part of the world that will take some getting used to are the long days that we have. More precisely, it doesn’t get dark! I went to bed at about 11:30 pm last night and the sun was still completely out! Fortunately, the entire station operates on normal workdays like we would in the states.
Tonight we are celebrating Thanksgiving! Since the people that are here are away from their family and friends we try to all come together at celebrate. So Happy Thanksgiving!
Next week I will be attending Happy Camper School, which is a course on how to survive in the wilderness of Antarctica. It will definitely be an adventure!
I will keep you all posted.