Monday, December 14, 2009

Getting close

It isn't long now - just over 30 days.  My flights are booked and my tickets cut.  I leave for Denver orientation on January 17th and then on to the Pole.  My ICE flight (where I actually reach Antarctica) is scheduled for the 26th into McMurdo Station from Christchurch, New Zealand. That flight will be on a C-17 military transport. The flight to the Pole a few days later will be on a ski-equipped C-130.

In the meantime I have been busy cleaning up around the house for a year's absence, installing security lights, shopping for cameras and other personal things, building a carport, and arranging for lawn-mowing and mail-forwarding services.

There is only one more training session after the fire-fighting and emergency responder training - Survival School. That is done in Antarctica under real conditions. After some classroom instruction they will drive us out onto the ice sheet and teach us how to build ice shelters (igloos!) and dig survival trenches... and then they make us sleep in them overnight!  Luckily I will be there at the end of January, which is the warmest month.  Temperatures for my night out should stay above zero.

Although I have known I am going to the South Pole for months, it adds quite a dose of reality to have flights scheduled.


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