After 13 days in Christchurch, tomorrow might be the day!
I’ve received word that my flight is finally scheduled.
If all goes as planned, this will be my last update from Christchurch, and my next update will come from McMurdo station.
Of course there are a number of things that could still cause delays, including weather, personnel, or mechanical issues. Much of the delay so far has been related to weather and airfield conditions at McMurdo.
For the flight down, we’re required to wear (or at least have with us) much of our issued Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) gear.
My job at McMurdo involves only small amounts of work outdoors, which means I’ve been issued just a small set of ECW gear – enough to be safe, but not as much as someone who routinely works outdoors. This means I’ll be wearing pretty much everything I’ve been issued.
I have my two suitcases, which are checked luggage. Once they are checked in, I won’t see them again until McMurdo, even if the flight gets delayed or boomerangs. It will have been palletized for shipment at this point, and it won’t be unpacked, since (hopefully!) a delayed flight will be rescheduled within the next day or two.
“Boomerang” refers to a flight that gets partway to McMurdo, and then has to turn around due to weather or airstrip conditions at its destination.
In this case, we have a special “boomerang bag” that we’ll get back, which I’m packing with enough (non-ECW) clothes and essentials to last a few days in Christchurch.
For the flight itself, I have a carry-on as well. This is a few essential odds and ends that I want on me. Mostly documents, a few fragile things like a laptop, stuff that can’t be checked (like spare batteries), snacks, water, and a Kindle.
I’ll be on a C-17, which typically makes the flight in somewhere around 5-6 hours.
Ice flight tomorrow. Hopefully!