Today is the day, the day I start on my biggest adventure ever. Today I leave for Antarctica. After a few delays we all meet at the bus stop in front of the motel that I have called home for the last week. Its a cold wet Hobart morning, the sun still yet to rise, the fog still yet to clear and the feeling of excitement is thick in the air. The bus arrives we chuck all our gear in the luggage compartment and the adventure begins.
We arrive at the Hobart Airport, its a small airport that pretty much only caters for domestic flights, except for the little terminal that is hidden away in the corner, the “Saffire Lounge”. The Saffire Lounge is the rarely used Hobart International Airport which each year says fare well to all the Antarctic Expeditioners. I enter the small terminal and feel a wash of pride flow through me. I am one of a very small selected group of people who are lucky enough to see this very unique terminal and all that it represents.
Antarctic Pancake Ice
The flight was not your average international flight, the A319 is a very unique aircraft. The middle seats have been removed to carry luggage, however in this instance the large space allowed the expeditioners the perfect place to mingle. We all hung out in this space, drinking coffee, eating muffins, chatting and of cause taking plenty of photo’s. We were also allowed to walk straight into the cockpit and chat to the pilots. This was a very unique experience. From the cockpit you got the best uninterrupted view of the large expanse of pancake sea ice and huge ice bergs.
The AAD A319 at the Pegasus
Once we closed in on Pegasus airstrip, the huge glacial runway at McMurdo the US station inside the Antarctic circle, I started to realise how lucky I was to have been selected for the Australian Antarctic Program. Then I stepped onto the ice and it hit me, A huge smile crept onto my face which 2 months in still has not left. It was bitterly cold, -17c but I did not care. I was here, I was in Antarctica. I quickly snapped a bunch of rushed pics as were getting guided over to “Ivan The Terra Bus”, the single most epic vehicle I have ever seen.
The most epic vehicle anywhere
After a very bumpy ride we arrived at McMurdo. McMurdo is huge, and I mean huge, I had been told that it was big, but I guess I had no real idea what to expect, but this was not it. My first Antarctic experience was of this massive city, with 1100 people living and working there. I could see massive accommodation buildings, heaps and heaps of vehicles, there was a fire station equipped with a full size american fire truck and I had heard rumours of 3 bars. Was this really the Antarctica that I had expected???
Chief Gareth and Sparkie Nessy at the famous McMurdo Station sign
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One Life, One Search.
(PS: I have been filming heaps, including our trip from Hobart to McMurdo, However due to the limited bandwidth we have I can not upload to YouTube. I will upload all my YouTube content as soon as I return to Australian around late feb early March 2015)