21 October, 1998
Wednesday, October 21st, 1998
Hi! Today was a day to explore New Zealand a bit while we are delayed in Christchurch awaiting our deployment to the ice. Since our flight is now on stand-by for Friday, I'm going to get the chance to look around the area...we are not to leave town overnight, and should check in with our hotel every 8 hours to see if there are changes in the flight plans.
Gary Wilson and I drove to Akaroa, which was originally a French settlement on the coast. The town has got a protected harbor, but the open waters of the Pacific Ocean are not far away. To get to Akaroa we drove through some beautiful countryside...rolling green hills with sheep everywhere! The road curved and climbed up through the hills and then gradually descended to the coastal area surrounding Akaroa. The water was a pretty blue-green and the area was quite peaceful.
We ate at a small cafe called The Dolphin, and it felt great to sit outside on a patio (in shorts) and eat lunch. After, we walked around the town, popping into the little shops. On the way back we took a different route and stopped in another coastal town called Lyttelton. This is a large port and serves Christchurch. In the harbor (spelled harbour here) there were many large ships which transport goods...most of them within New Zealand. I can't wait to send some pictures of my day to you...but that won't happen until I get to McMurdo. Make sure you go back and read the journals again when the photos have been added!
We got back to Christchurch at about 5:00 PM and much to our disappointment...so did the people on today's ice flight to McMurdo. They had gotten all the way to Antarctica, could see Mt. Erebus (if they were near the front of the plane), and couldn't land because of low cloud cover. They had spent 9 hours on this plane and ended up right back where they started! As they entered the CDC they were all dragging their duffles...NOT a happy group. Since this was the second cancellation for them in 48 hours, they were required to get all of the gear off the plane, so everyone had to wait around for their personal bags as well, and drag those into the changing rooms. All gear and bags had to be organized again in alphabetical order by flight. What a job for the guys at the CDC!
Gary and I waited for three friends from the Cape Roberts Project...Rosie, Cricket, and Sondra. We all headed into town to meet up with the Italian Cape Roberts contingent. It was GREAT meeting some more of the people I'll be working with. Fabio Florindo and Leo Sagnotti are two of the scientists I'll be working with most directly. I also met Sonya, Guiliana, Marco, Franco, Michele (pronounced Ma-ka-le). I loved listening to their heavy Italian accents and I had to listen very carefully to make sure I understood what they were saying. Some of the Italians speak English more clearly than others. It will be fun to work with them and learn some Italian!
For dinner we ended up at an Italian restaurant...of course! It was quite delicious and the Italians seemed to think it was pretty authentic. Our group was quite large...about 14 people or so. I am beginning to feel a part of the group and it's been great to make some friends and meet people before arriving in McMurdo. Everyone seems very interested in my role as a teacher in the TEA (Teachers Experiencing Antarctica) Program. I think I will have a lot of interesting tales to share as the trip unfolds.
I hope that tomorrow's flight makes it to McMurdo...it's caused a lot of logistical problems both here in Christchurch and in Antarctica. Supplies and people need to get moving in order to keep things running smoothly. I do not envy the people whose jobs involve keeping the process running smoothly...it seems like they can never count on anything definite...except that the plans will change!
Talk with you tomorrow!
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