Leaving Raleigh Durham International. I kept being asked if I was active military? Honestly, these are the best pants to wear on a trip that starts at 1500 on Friday and ends at 1300 on Sunday.
First A330, just a tad smaller than a Boeing 747 and a good pick for the Pacific leg. I liked it, Qantas has good service for the proletariat.
Fast forward a couple of days in Christchurch, filled with fresh beer and fresher food, and we lucked out by actually departing to McMurdo at our scheduled time. This is inside a C-17, they are too large to comprehend; I'd be more willing to believe that this is just a space-time transitioning vessel (ala "The Fly") than something that repeatedly goes fast enough to generate lift.
My view on the trip, I was dyeing to know what was inside this sucker. And yes, it weighs 4225 kg!
Ours was the second C-17 to land on the sea ice runway. Yes, the sea ice runway. Ours was the second to land on the sea ice runway because the sea ice runway was degrading and they were about to move the runway to the ice shelf runway.
Good ol' Ivan the TerraBus!
Since five years had passed after my last deployment, I was required to take the two day field survival class "Happy Camper" rather than the more familiar (to me) 3-hr refresher course. We had the warmest temps yet this season, perfect weather, perfect weather to not prepare you for the deep continent ice camps! But then, I'm headed to the dirt desert, so I was stoked. Here our class is constructing a few survival trenches.
This was around 9PM.
This bloke is walking past my sky-light.
Our kitchen, served 20. Never knew you could double up whisperlites, really BTU'd!
Our wall, constructed to prevent the winds from blowing down/away our tents, the gap in necessary for the drifts.
What our wall will look like after the next 50 mph wind.
Previous class' snow trench.
I love this old trench entrance, I first thought it constructed in a Japanese half-moon entrance style...
Since this was my only real shot at snow (Dry Valleys are dry) I opted for a night in a snow trench. I cut the blocks in a chevron pattern from the surface snow, then placed them as such on virgin snow, excavated beneath and used my cut material to cover the roof and fill in gaps.
Twas quite cozy, though I couldn't sit up. It was so nice out I risked blocking the window and the entrance (I had a tent for backup if it really crapped out). 1HR into the night a wind picked up and started blowing snow through the window, but I just stuffed that big red jacket into the opening and was fine.
View out the entrance.
This snow makes such nice building material. We were to demolish our trenches so that nobody would later fall inside and break something. I tested out my roof by removing the base of one side. It stayed put and was actually quite hard to completely collapse.
Mt. Erebus, the centroid of the island that McMurdo station resides upon, and the southernmost active volcano on Earth.
Just a still-life movie to illustrate the awesomeness of our conditions. What don't you hear?
The road to....
I will update as time/bandwidth allows. Cheers, Crisco Jackass out.