Welcome to Christchurch!

It only took about 34 hours for me to get from Springfield, MA USA to Christchurch, New Zealand. My journey started in Hartford, CT and I flew to Houston, TX than a 15-hour flight to Auckland, New Zealand and one final flight to Christchurch.

After my flight arrived I collected my bags and preceded to the USAP desk where they are took me to a shuttle to deliver me to my hotel.

In the morning the shuttle for orientation arrived at 6:45am. Some people needed vaccines; luckily I did not so I was able to go find breakfast at the local grocery store. I bought fresh fruit; a lot of people are eating a lot of “freshies” now, perishable food that we won’t be able to get down at McMurdo.

We were trained at orientation about fire safety, sexual harassment, environmental waste management, and protocol on lightweight vehicle paperwork. After a quick lunch, we were issued our ECW, Extreme Cold Weather, gear. I was the last person trying on gear, I wanted to make sure everything fit perfectly and was in great shape. I tried on 7 pairs of boots and ended up in the second pair I tried on. Gear is really hard to get once you get down to McMurdo.

Bridget in her ECW gear
Bridget in her ECW gear

Tomorrow we are supposed to have our ice flight. The crew will check the weather 4 hours in advance, approximately 7am. If we fly out we will be picked up by a shuttle ate 7:45 am.

Stay tuned to see when I make it to the ice!

Christchurch, New Zealand
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Yvonne Percy

You look like a little kid getting all bundled up to play in the snow-except you can move! Have fun on the ice today.

Bridget Ward

We "ordered" our sizes about a month ago based on our measurements. They originally gave me small everything. I couldn't move though. My original jacket went well below my knees and my pants were so tight I couldn't bend my knees. I also tried on 8 pairs of boots, they don't have half sizes. We wear the gear in the picture on the 5-6 hour flight to McMurdo, because the plane is cold and we will deboard the plane right on the ice. I am hoping all the weight from my gear will help me not get blown over :)

Holly Garvey

Hi Bridget, all is well here at Central. Showed the picture with all your gear on to your D block. It solicited many smiles and some chuckling. The girls liked the color red. You "rock it!"

Bridget Ward

Thank you for sharing with my students. On a typical day, I will have 2-3 layers under that big red coat and snow pants!

Bridget Ward

Thank you for following me! I have packed my boomerang bag. They suggested to pack 3 days worth of clothes in it, but the. bag they gave me was so big I packed 5 days' worth. Yesterday's flight boomeranged than they took off again a few hours later. They were in the C-17 that we need to fly down in. Our flight time is 11 am so they will let us know around 7 am when the do a weather check. Today is supposed to be windy and cloudy, but Saturday and Sunday look really nice. As of right now (5 am) we are still going today.

Mike Penn

Ms. Ward, I am a student of Mr. Penn's in Pittsburgh. When he flew from New Zealand to McMurdo Station he said he flew on an Air Force C-17. Do you know what kind of plane you are going to fly in? My dad is in the Air Force national guard.

Bridget Ward

We are also supposed to fly down on a C-17. It is a pretty big plane, on yesterday's trip they flew down 3 helicopters and people in it. I bet you already knew that a c-17 is really big.


I'm in 6th grade in Mr. Penn's class and my name is Kaylaylee. What is the weather like in Chrischurch? Mr. Penn says it is spring time there? How much different will the weather be when you get on there? I think it is cool that you are in tomorrow already!

Bridget Ward

Hi Kaylaylee,
It is springtime here. It is similar to Pennsylvania's spring. It has been pretty cloudy, between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit, and pretty windy. Yesterday it rained for about 2 minutes, twice. A lot of people are wearing sweaters and jackets. There are also a lot of people that run to exercise around here and they are in shorts and t-shirts. The weather in McMurdo will be really cold. Around 0 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit with the wind. So, think about the coldest day of your winter and that's what it will feel like.

Yes, it is very cool that it is tomorrow here. I can not send home any winning lottery numbers and don't know the winner of the Thursday night American football game, LOL that is played on Friday here :) A lot of my friend have been joking about that.


How do you pet the seals with those gloves?

Bridget Ward

Hi Sam!
I can touch the seals with these gloves, but what you can't see is I have more gloves under these big mittens. It would be hard for me to use my fingers with these big mittens on. So, I will take them off to do what I need to do, then put them back on :) Ps. Remember to just use your first name next time