I Made it to New Zealand!
After washing 20 hours of travel grime off, I now feel human again. Boy, it's been a long plane ride! I departed San Fransisco at 11 PM on Thursday,past the International date line, skipping Friday and jumped right into Saturday at 1:30 in the afternoon. I've made it to Christchurch, NewZealand!
I was off to explore the town tonight with a fellow PolarTREC teacher., Amy Osborne. I wasn't able to see much flying in, as it is really cloudy here. It's 65 degrees and a little rainy looking. I did notice that they drive on the left hand side of the road here. I had forgotten that. Crazy. Good thing I have no plans to drive anywhere.
On the way here, I already met some interesting people that are headed to Antarctica. Only one was a grad student that will be studying penguins. The others all work in support roles. There were a few equipment operators, mechanics, and a lady that works on supplying electricity to McMurdo Station. Apparently, it is primarily furnished with big generators, but there are also wind turbines. I look forward to learning more about the logistics of what it take to support the science in McMurdo.
I've tried to start my first science experiment. One of my student's requested that I test which way water drains from a sink- clockwise, or counterclockwise??? It wasn't very successful, as the plug was getting in the way. I tried the toilet too, but that's just gross taking pictures of a toilet flushing. And, it really didn't work right either. I'll have to try again once I'm in Antarctica. Anyone want to conduct the experiment in California to compare my results to?
Tomorrow, I have a full day slated. I'll start by going through a few hours of cold weather survival training. Then my computer has to be screened for viruses in order to hook up to the government internet in McMurdo. Last, but not least, I will be issued my extreme cold weather gear. ...Pictures to follow!
Interesting facts about Christchurch, NewZealand
Christchurch is a city of about 390,000 people. It is on the very southern tip of NewZealand's Southern Island. It is an important agricultural area, with crops of wheat and barley and grasses for seeds. The dairy industry is growing, and of course, New Zealand is famous for their sheep. It is the stepping off point for heading to Antarctica - particularly for scientists going to the Ross Sea and McMurdo Station. The United States Antarctic Program has a large facility here. They run the Clothing Distribution Center where I will get my extreme cold weather clothes tomorrow!