Gear to be packed
Final check of Antarctic gear before packing away. A brief summary of my trip preparation is found further down in this journal entry.

I am in Christchurch, New Zealand right now. To get here, I took a flight from Salt Lake City to San Francisco. San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand (12 hour flight). We then flew from Auckland to Christchurch, New Zealand. This trip started on Sunday, December 30th, and I arrived in Christchurch Tuesday, January 1st.
Dr. Byron Adams and me in SLC
Dr. Adams and me preparing to leave Salt Lake City.

I really don't remember much of New Year's Eve. That is because there was no New Year's Eve for me this year. We took off from San Francisco on the 30th, and landed in New Zealand on New Year's Day. What??? No, we were not in the air for a day and a half. We crossed the international date line. While crossing that vertical line on the Earth, we are to move our calendar ahead one day. I will get that day back when I come home, crossing that line from the other direction.

Sourdough in SF
Natasha Griffin (returning scientist on her 2nd trip to the ice), Dr. Adams, and myself enjoying some chowder and sourdough in San Francisco before take-off for New Zealand.

Click here to view a short animation showing the route here to New Zealand, and soon, to Antarctica.

Our ride to New Zealand
This was our ride to New Zealand.

Onboard Air New Zealand
Onboard an Air New Zealand aircraft over the Pacific headed to New Zealand. We skipped New Year's Eve due to crossing the International date line. Notice the empty seats. It was nice to stretch out for the 12-hour flight.

Wood carvings at airport
Beautiful wood carvings welcoming us to Auckland, New Zealand.

We met up with more of our team in Auckland. Introductions to come.
Meeting up with more members of our Dry Valley soil team in Auckland.

Last flight in journey there
Myself, Natasha, and Byron (Dr. Adams), excited to be onboard the last flight of our journey. Christchurch, New Zealand is at the end of this flight.

Green Olives
Full flight to Christchurch. I was grateful for the green olives my daughter give me for my trip. It has been a long journey, and not there yet.

Finally made it to Christchurch, New Zealand
We left on Sunday and arrived here in Christchurch on Tuesday. A lot of seat-time on planes. Glad I like flying.

Met by USAP personnel
We were met in Christchurch by personnel from the United States Antarctic Program (USAP). This very nice lady gave us instructions on where to meet our shuttle to our hotel, how to exchange money, and what time to meet at their facility (tomorrow) for further training.

My room in Christchurch
Here's my room I will spend 2 nights in if the weather is good. If we can't make our flight into Antarctica, we could be here longer.

Brief Summary of Preparation

Preparation time is over. I have spent years learning so many fascinating things about Antarctica. I have been to several conferences and trainings preparing me for my expedition (refer to previous posts on those conferences). I have spent time in the gym and changing my diet in order to be stronger and to add a bit more cold resistive "insulation". I set, and reached a goal to increase from 165 pounds to 180 pounds. That was a fun goal to achieve.

Weight Goal
It took me a year, but I met my goal of gaining 15 pounds.

I have spent time in Dr. Adam’s lab having him teach me some techniques we will use in the lab in Antarctica (story in previous journal). I have passed my physical qualification tests (another journal entry about that). Vaccines and extra insurance were also required.

Me video conferencing
I am having a video conference here with our Antarctic team making final preparations.

Many video conferences were held with our Antarctic Dry Valley team members, PolarTREC advisors, and from the United States Antarctic Program, helping me learn requirements to help prepare me for my upcoming expedition. I have found the best substitute teacher who kindly offered to teach my students while I will be away. She and I have met several times, and she has met my students prior to this switch.

Check out my next journal entry where I will show you around Christchurch and the United States Antarctic Program's Clothing Distribution Center.

Weather Summary
It's summer in the the southern hemisphere. Short pants and t-shirt were worn today.



Thanks for sharing your story about the trip to New Zealand. I love the pictures as it gives me an idea of what I hope will happen for me next year this time! Keep it coming.

Andrea Scheuber

I wish you the best time ever! Be safe and enjoy each and every single day! Volker and I will follow you Kevin!!! and think of you often.

Kevin Dickerson

Thanks Michelle. There is a scientist who was on my flight today (boomeranged) who is off to the Pole. She is studying cosmic dust. They can tell whether it is from our solar system or not. Amazing stuff. I have not got a chance to visit with her. Tomorrow, when we try again to get there, I will find out more and let you know.

Kevin Dickerson

Thanks Andrea.You and Volker, and the whole family for that matter, would love this adventure. Thanks for checking in and tell the kids hi.

Carter Borget

How much extra stuff are you allowed to bring on the trip with you?