Arrival in New Zealand

Yesterday I arrived in New Zealand after a very long two days of travel: a 3 1/2 hour flight from Baltimore to Dallas, 7 hours at the Dallas airport, an 18-hour flight to Sydney, which was an hour longer than it was supposed to be because of headwinds. I was lucky that the middle seat in my row of three was empty. I did my best to sleep. After landing in Sydney, a 2 1/2 hour layover, and then got on the plane to Christchurch, New Zealand, from where the US Antarctic Program stages. That flight was on Emirates Air, which was the nicest economy flight I’ve been on in a long time — comfortable, roomy, lunch included, and they even brought us warm washcloths to freshen up before lunch!

This morning was a briefing, a laptop check to make sure our antivirus protection was up to date, and the main event, being given our polar clothing and trying it on to make sure it fit. There were a couple of young women scientists in the changing room with me who had been there before and so I got some good tips about gloves. One will be at McMurdo and then other is a volcanologist and will be going up onto the volcano.

Tomorrow we are scheduled to leave for Antarctica early in the morning. Check-in at the US Antarctic Center is at 5:30 a.m., so the shuttle is picking us up at 4:45 from the hotel. Normally I’d dread getting up that early, but I’m still not adjusted to the time zone and have been waking up around 3:30 a.m. anyway!

Here are some photos I took from the plane as we flew over New Zealand. The mountains are the Southern Alps on the west coast of the South Island. The flatter areas are the farmlands you see as you approach Christchurch, which is on the east coast.

New Zealand Southern Alps
Southern Alps on New Zealand’s west coast
Southern Alps on New Zealand's South Island
Southern Alps on New Zealand’s South Island
New Zealand river
Aerial view of New Zealand countryside
Farmland New Zealand
Farmland in New Zealand toward the east coast of the South Island.