Posted by Julie
Wind Speed: 9.5
Temp with wind chill: -15
At breakfast the morning when we were scheduled to leave, Jane said, “I don’t feel like we’re going to Antarctica.” Guess what – Jane’s psychic! We checked in and were given a short briefing, we boarded a C17 US military plane, and we flew five hours to Antarctica wearing our extreme weather gear. And then we circled around… and around… and around… After about an hour of circling it was no big surprise when we were told that due to weather conditions on the ground, we were not going to land. And so, we turned around and flew five more hours back to Christchurch – i.e., we were “boomeranged.”
There aren’t many windows in the belly of a C17 (it’s like a machine room with wings, and the noise is deafening), but there are a few portholes. We took turns at those windows and got a look at Antarctica: blue water with tabular icebergs and “pancake ice” on the approach, and then blindingly white mountains with blue and purple shadows on the continent (the photos don’t do it justice). At one point we were invited up to the cockpit for a few seconds, where we had a panoramic view of Antarctica from the air.
The next morning was déjà vu. We got ready to leave again, but with one difference: when we asked Jane how she felt about the flight, she said she felt good about it. Guess what, she was psychic again! After flying back to Antarctica for five hours, we suddenly banked, put down the landing gear, and landed on the ice airstrip. It was a beautiful day on the ground, and on our short drive from the airfield to Scott Base there was even a group of Emperor penguins near the road.