Travelling to Antarctica
November 27, 2013

November 27th, 2013

Leaving the flat at 6.20am was a bit of a shock to the system but I couldn’t sleep much anyhow, I was going to Antarctica today! We were given a briefing in the departure lounge at the International Antarctic Centre and before we knew it we were on a bus over to the tarmac at Christchurch Airport. There were only two of us Kiwis on the flight and about 20 other Americans squeezed on to the plane.

A flight in a Ski Herc is an experience in itself! The seats consist of a platform folded down with some cargo netting behind and there is definitely more priority given to cargo then people! We had to bring our ECW (Extreme Cold Weather) gear on the plane with the big jacket proving most useful as a cushion!

By about 2pm we could see sea ice out the windows and from there the views only got better. We were allowed up into the cockpit and with bigger windows up there I was absolutely blown away. The vast expanse of Antarctica spread out in front of us was breathtaking and I was glued to the windows until touch down at around 5pm. We landed on the sea ice in front of McMurdo which is about 2m thick but still strange to think there is water so close!

I will never forget stepping off the plane on to the continent for the first time. After taking a breath of cool dry air and looking around at the alien landscape I don’t think the smile came off my face until my head hit the pillow that night. We climbed aboard Ivan TheTera Bus back to McMurdo and then we were picked up and driven over the hill to the green oasis of Scott Base. Home sweet home.

But the day wasn’t over yet! After a tour of the base and a delicious dinner, I was back over the hill for a game of football against the Americans at McMurdo/Mactown/Maccas. As all good athletes do we replenished our energy reserves after the game with ice cream sundaes in the enormous 24/7 dinning room. Getting back to base just before 11pm with the sun still streaming down was incredibly strange but after such a long day and with a shutter on the tiny window in my room I was asleep in no time..

Hamish Laing

Hamish Laing

BLAKE Antarctic Ambassador 2013