13 October 2004

Hello All,

Welcome to ASPIRE 2004. So in any trip to the Antarctic there is the all important step of actually arriving on the coldest of continents. That was today.
We started the day with a rise at the incredibly reasonable hour of 6:30am. This would be 6:30 am kiwi time which means exactly squat to us while gallivanting around the globe. After all the flying of the last few days I couldn’t tell anyone what day is was much less what hour, I was pretty sure it was October though. So I had that going for me. We got dressed in our fancy red jackets, checked our baggage, and moved into the waiting room to board the plane. This waiting room became our home for the next five hours as a broken part required a two hour delay, a one hour delay because they needed to switch planes, and then two hours to get the next plane ready to go. We had started discussing where we were going to eat dinner since the flight was obviously going to be cancelled and rumors spread rampant about worsening weather in McMurdo.

Then we were told we could get on the plane. After going through security and getting all of our sharp objects removed from our persons we were led to the plane. There are four main planes that take people down to “the ice.” The most common ones are the LC-130 and the C-141, they take eight and five hours, respectively to fly down in but require that you sit in cargo net seats with your legs intertwined with the person sitting across from you. Then there are the two that everyone hopes to be on, C-5’s and C-17’s. Both of these monstrosities of engineering provide one with leg room, a more comfortable seat, and a four to five hour fly time. Although we ended up spending an extra hour and a half sitting on the runway after leaving the terminal, we didn’t care; we had lunches, leg room, and were going to Antarctica on a C-17!
The flight went without a hitch. The majority it was overcast so we couldn’t see anything out the window but then it opened up as we got near the station and saw the ice.

After deplaning onto the ice runway and taking in Mt. Erebus we left for the station. Even though I had seen it before, the scenery was and is breathtaking.
After eating dinner we walked out to hut point before turning in on a long way away from where we started three days before.

Aloha,
Andrew

Lets see the next day!