Antarctica 2013--2014 Part 4: Backup

Photo of the Kress

The flight to McMurdo was about as good as it could be on a Hercules. It was only 7.5 hours, and as I wrote last time, not too crowded. The weather was beautiful when we landed. About freezing and clear skies. There wasn't much new to see so I didn't take too many pictures. Getting off the plane, we were told the bus to station had broken down and that they were sending something else. 40 minutes later a vehicle/truck/object arrived (see photo).

This was the Kress, capable of holding around 90 people I'm told. We rattled around in it like seals in a can. After a lot of waiting, it started moving. In multiple directions. The shock absorbers seem to have a natural frequency around 1 Hz, and it felt like we were being driven with amplitude of 1 ft. Summary: it was a bumpy ride.

We got to station around 7:30 PM, missing dinner, but there were fairly good leftovers. This year they brought linens to our rooms so I didn't have to scramble there before dinner. However, I was supposed to bag drag (see last year's blogs for definition) at 7, being interestingly before my arrival time. Instead I went there after dinner to find my checked bags. I re-packed some things and checked the bags again for my Pole flight. McMurdo does not have boomerang bags, so I put as much essential items in my carry-on as possible. I'm still short a few things, which I might buy from the station store. I learned that the Pole flight was a backup for all the LC-130 flights the next day (December 11). That means you have to be ready to go at 6:45 AM, but you might not get to go until late or even at all. You just have to watch the flight monitor screens all day.

I got up and watched the flight monitor screens from 6:45 until 2 PM. That was when they finally canceled the Pole flight. Two other flights went out, and another plane had a mechanical problem, so there was no plane to go to Pole. I took a nap. After dinner, I saw that the next day's (December 12) Pole flight had an actual transport time of 7:45. I set my alarm for 6:30 and went to bed.

Waking up, I grabbed breakfast, packed up my few remaining belongings, and cleaned out my room. Then I looked at the flight monitors again and found we were weather delayed until 10:45. I'm waiting for that flight now. It could easily get delayed again or canceled.

In the next post, does Immanuel make it to Pole?...

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