It’s an exhausting four days of travel, going from home in New York through Los Angeles, Sydney and Christchurch all the way to Antarctica! Yet stepping off the C-17 military transport jet and onto the ice shelf at McMurdo Station instantly replaces fatigue with excitement for the adventure (and hard work) ahead.
The team has been a whirlwind of cargo hunting, sleep-kit packing, food pulling and safety training, interspersed with consuming (un)healthy amounts of food. In our one week in McMurdo, Michael, Sarah, Andy and others have located all science cargo and prepped it for helicopter flights out to Taylor Glacier.
TG newbies Joe, Bernie and myself (Peter) have spent some extra time familiarizing ourselves with aspects of camp life and safety before we head out to live on the glacier for the next few weeks. The three of us had an excellent Taylor Glacier simulation drilling v-threads in the ice and anchoring and setting up tents in high winds at Arrival Heights. After his first snow machine course Bernie was declared a natural and passed his Antarctic driver test with flying colors.
We have all been recreating a little to stay healthy and happy, with small groups of us walking up Observation Hill, walking over to Scott Base, and skiing parts of the Cape Armitage loop. Despite our best efforts, McMurdo bugs have left a few of us with colds but we are resting when we can.
The weather has been very cooperative so far, and early yesterday morning Michael headed out to camp with several carpenters to begin setting up structures for the season. A few hours later, Kathy followed with more hands from field support. Our driller Mike, along with Sarah and Bernie flew out just after lunch today. Now, after a last-minute change, Vas, Ed, Andy, Joe and I will be flying to camp this evening around 8pm. The real Taylor Glacier season has begun!