At last!

Ice at last!

This morning we reported early to the Antarctic Center, got dressed in our cold-weather gear, and after a long wait we boarded our beautiful C-17 headed for McMurdo. The C-17 is a pretty large military jet, much more comfortable than the C-130 (a propeller plane) and C-141 (an older jet) rides I’ve taken before down here. It was a treat.

I still have to download pictures from my camera, so here’s a link to some videos taken with my ever-handy iPhone:

Boarding the C-17
Looking out the window as we flew over Antarctica
Inside the cockpit of the C-17

You’ll notice that McMurdo is actually pretty warm – when we got off the plane, people had their jackets open, etc. The jet landed out on the “annual sea ice” runway, which has a nice hard surface that works for its wheels. We took a big “delta” vehicle (huge wheels) in to town, which is on Ross Island. The island has lots of black volcanic rock which, once it’s clear of snow, catches the sun and further melts the snow. So the base itself (“town”) can get pretty muddy. Today is a nice warm day – two days ago they had snowdrifts everywhere.

We report early tomorrow morning for our flight to the South Pole… let’s hope the weather stays nice so we can get there!