Chillin' in Alaska
Today, Alaska felt like Alaska. The morning dawned with an air temp below twenty, and a wind chill near zero. I could see every breath as I made my way to the van that would carry us to the morning activities. A perfect day to learn about gearing up for Antarctica.
The logistics of getting 3,000 people to Antarctica are amazing. Their is a contractor called Antarctic Logistics Support that is tasked with putting it all together. It is set in motion when the Primary investigator (the research scientist that wrote the grant) fills out a SIP form. This stands for Support Information Package. It can be over a hundred pages long! It is a request form for every piece of anything that might be needed to conduct research while in Antarctica. You can't exactly run back to the store if you forget that test tube at home!
After that, every person must be medically cleared to go. This requires an extensive medical evaluation, including blood work, EKG's and a complete physical exam. They call this PQ; Physical Qualification. You need to get the ball rolling on all this paperwork about six months before you are set to deploy. Then, get your passport ready...they will order your tickets.
I will be flying from San Fransisco to Auckland, New Zealand, then on to Christchurch, New Zealand. From there, I will wait for a C-130 to fly me to McMurdo Station, Antarctica. While in Christchurch, I will be issued my ECW; extreme cold weather gear. I will be required to wear this every time I leave the station. Awesome!