Our tip down to McMurdo was pretty uneventful. It was a total of 6 1/2 hours on a C-17 air force plane. We were able to move around the plane and I even got to take a little trip up into the cockpit.
When I was in the cockpit, I could look out the window and see the very thin sea ice that forms all the way around Antarctica. The ice in this area is not very thick (only a few inches to a foot) and has several cracks and breaks in it. The cracks and breaks in the ice allow for seals, penguins, and whales to feed in the area as they have several breathing holes.
When we finally landed in Antarctica, our plane landed on the sea ice. Close inshore the ice is thick (10-15ft) and can handle the impact of the plane. We were then shuttled from the landing strip to McMurdo Station. McMurdo Station is more like a town. It has everything. Store, barber, medical, dental, library, laboratories, and more. It’s pretty incredible that people can live here year round.
After collecting our bags and finding our dorm room, our team headed for the dining room. Dinner was amazing. There were so many options to choose from. And not only was dinner awesome, dessert was incredible too. Soft serve ice cream with every topping you can choose, cake, pies, fresh baked cookies. Once we had our fill of what ever we wanted to eat, we headed to the dorm room for a little relaxation before meeting up for a night of cards at the town bar. My father would be proud to hear that I taught the entire team how to play hearts and we have decided to have a game of hearts every Saturday night at our field camp. Looser has to wake up Sunday morning and make omelets for everyone.
One of my favorite things so far is the twilight hours. We left the bar at 10:30 and it was still relatively light out. Even at midnight there was still a dim glow. Tonight my friend Darren and I are going to stay out and hopefully see the last stars of the season tonight. They are only visible for a few hours each night. It’s going to be cold, but worth it.