I attended orientation and training the day after I arrived in Christchurch. The US Antarctic Program Center is located at the Christchurch airport. It's a large complex with offices, a clothing distribution center (CDC), a post office and its own boarding area. Right next door is the International Antarctic Centre, a museum on the history, ecology and life in Antarctica.
|US Antarctic Program Center in Christchurch.|
The highlight of the day for me was being given my Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) clothing. The Program provides a big red parka, insulated coveralls and work jacket, a fleece jacket, gloves/mittens, hats/hoods, goggles, a neck gaiter/balaclava and a pair of insulated rubber boots called "bunny boots", I guess because they're white. I tried on all the clothes and accessories to make sure they fit and were in working order.
|Extreme Cold Weather clothing.|
We also went over baggage weight restrictions. From theUS to Christchurch I had a 100 pound limit but going to McMurdo it's 85 pounds. And even though a lot of the ECW clothes I was issued I will wear on the flight to the Ice, I still had clothes I needed to pack and additional weight I needed to account for. That made me nervous. I went back to the Center a couple of days later with all my baggage to decide what I needed to take, what to store at the Center and what I could mail to myself on the Ice. An hour and a half later I weighed my bags and managed to get down to the 85 pounds limit. That was a big relief.
My next post will be about my time in Christchurch. It's a beautiful city filled with friendly people. And I'll have some photos to share.