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1 November, 2001

The Antarctic Center in Christchurch, New Zealand, is the biggest Antarctic display in the world. I learned a lot there before getting on the plane to see the real thing!

A group of Antarctic parcticipants met at the Clothing Distribution Center (CDC) for a 1:00 p.m. "clothing fitting session". We had a brief orientation concerning the Extreme Cold Weather gear needed for Antarctica. I was issued fleece pants, bib overall windpants, a fleece jacket, a wind jacket, a big red parka, white "bunny" boots, expedition weight long underwear, several pair of socks and gloves, and goggles. I also had two knit hats and sunglasses in my two big orange bags. It took about two hours to try everything on and pack for our morning departure tomorrow. Along with the orange bags, I carried a laptop computer and four cameras to help transfer this Antarctic experience to others. An excess baggage permit was needed in order to carry science equipment aboard the plane for a hydrology (water) study that will be conducted in relation to Dr. Bowser's project: a study of the seasonal change of one-celled organisms called foraminifera (forams).

Inside the Antarctic Center one can learn about the geology, biology and history of this unique continent. They call Antarctica a living laboratory - and for good reason, the entire continent has been set aside for scientific research.

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