Travel Log: December 5th, 2000

Dateline: 8 AM Tuesday December 5, 2000
Christchurch, New Zealand
Computer Room of the CDC (Clothing Distribution Center)

Temp: 54°F, 12°C
Rel. Humidity: 87%
Wind: ENE at 8 mph (13 kph)
Sunrise: 04:44 AM
Sunset: 07:58 PM

Randy writes:

NZ by airThis year's trip promises to be an exciting one! Patricia Adamcik-Huettel is working with me and students at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (AIP) to create a multimedia CD-ROM about CARA science and Antarctica. We met at O'Hare International Airport after my short cab ride in and her flight from Pittsburgh. We than traveled for about another full 24 hours and arrived in Christchurch about mid-day yesterday. The four hour flight to LA was uneventful, but our 12.5 hour flight to Auckland had a little extra spice added. It was the final flight of the pilot and his wife, who is a flight attendant, before they retire. So everyone was wishing them well and the whole plane had the feeling of being part of a larger celebration like a wedding. It was very nice.

I managed to get a good night's sleep last night and I have fully recharged from the long ride here. Woke up at 5 AM and went for a run. It was really beautiful as it is late Spring here and everything is in bloom and the air is very fresh. The people of Christchurch take their gardening very seriously and the climate is very favorable for growing, so every house has an impressive garden and running in the neighborhood around the hotel is a real treat.

daisiesSpeaking of gardens... yesterday afternoon Patricia and I ventured into downtown Christchurch (our hotel is out by the airport) and we wondered through the botanical garden. While the average home has beautiful landscaping, the city garden is amazing. Huge impeccably groomed trees, lily ponds, rose gardens, flowers and more. Patricia went crazy taking photos. Because of the season here and because we are so far south (43 degrees latitude) we didn't realize how late it was. At 7:30 PM it was still very light out and the sun was high in the sky. Very different than in Chicago where the sun is now setting at about 4:30 PM. Finally my stomach reminded us that it was late and time to eat.

Speaking of cameras, Patricia has a lot of them. We needed two luggage carts just for all the equipment that she has brought down for the project. As well she should, as a multimedia person. We have only tested bits of it thus far down here so that is a big part of what we will do today, make sure everything still works and try to take some 360-degree images of CHC.

More later, now it is time for breakfast which I have not eaten yet.

Dateline: 4:20 PM

Sitting outside the CDC (Clothing Distribution Center) in the sunshine. I had finished trying on my gear and exchanging the stuff that didn't fit right by 3 PM. Patricia however is having a harder time. First, her bag was not well packed; second, it is her first time preparing for the ice which makes things much more difficult as one doesn't really have a feel for what you really need or how it should fit; and third, she is smaller than the average gear size that they have available.

So I have been waiting and she has been waging the battle of Extreme Cold Weather fashion. We are manifested for the flight tomorrow and need to be at the CDC by 6:15 AM and dressed and ready for the flight by 6:30 and then we will probably watch some safety videos and wait around until our 9 AM scheduled departure time. I am hopeful that we will make it to McMurdo tomorrow, but flights have been canceled for the past two days because of the weather at MCM. A low pressure system has settled in over the Ross sea and that is bringing in unstable weather. Also it is a bit breezy here and that could mean flight problems on this end.

We have tested the our electronic gear out and most of it seems to be working. We are having a few problems with power packs that we are a little bit worried about. We will go to an electronics store and see if we can sort things out hopefully later.

Go on to the
next day...