13 November, 2003
G'day from New Zealand!
This afternoon we took our turn getting our ECW gear (Extreme Cold Weather) The organization they have here is superb! After a brief introduction to the facilities by Mike, the man in charge of making sure we are given everything we need to protect yourself from the cold, we watched a short video on the reason the next couple of hours we spend here will be so important. Mike told us that we are traveling to a area that isn't cold, its #X$!!!X#$ COLD! And the gear we will be issued will make all the difference in our ability to carry out our missions. When he finished his introduction, we were ushered into a room that had two bags for each of us, one for "carry on" and the other to be checked. In these bags were all our ECW gear which we pulled out and started trying on. It looked like a sale day at a winter camping store! Men in various stages of dress asking "Does this look right to you? Or "What is this? How do you put it on? We exchanged for different sizes, or returned if we liked our personal gear better but for the most part all the clothing was top rate in excellent condition. In the end we were allowed to bring 75 lbs of gear in the checked bag. For some an easy job, but for others like myself who would be at a remote camp with no washing facilities, decisions on what to take and what to leave behind became more difficult. In the end I put together a bag and placed it on the scale, 60 lbs! I can add that bag of chocolate my wife gave me to enjoy on the ice! While I am writing this in the computer room here in New Zealand, I met the load master of the C141 we will be flying out on tomorrow. He said the plane can carry 65,000 lbs of cargo but not far, for this flight he said the load is 42,000 lbs. a mix of people, gear and cargo. It is an equation, more people less cargo, more cargo? less people! Well I have to run now the shuttle is at the door to get us back to the B&B. The next update will be from the ICE!
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