Antarctica or Bust!

Antarctica or Bust!

Our Antarctic Volcanofiles, Nial and Tehnuka, have arrived safely at McMurdo base, Antarctica, the largest Antarctic base, via a C-17 flight from Christchurch, New Zealand.

The plane ride takes about 5 hours, but the adrenaline makes the whole thing go by all too fast. Boarding a huge military aircraft like the C-17 is a thrill, and seeing the continent out the window for the first time — unforgettable.

Cargo crate inside the C-17. Our sentiments exactly!

The view out the C-17 window. We're really in Antarctica!

Another look out the window. Nearly there!

Now that they’re there, new members of the team will go through basic survival and Antarctic skills training while the experienced members will take some refresher courses. Safety is a big deal in Antarctica, especially when you’re deployed to a remote field area like Erebus. Although Erebus is only about 37 km (23 mi) away from McMurdo, the only way to get there is via helicopter. And helicopters will only fly when the weather is right. So team members need to be trained to make sure that nothing goes wrong — and know what to do if something does.

C-17 on the ice runway at McMurdo

The weather in McMurdo is warm but snowing, and visibility is low. On a good day, you could see Erebus clear as day from the ice runway where the C-17 lands. But, today, it was too cloudy to see her. We’ll post some good pics when visibility clears up and we can get a good look at Erebus in all her glory. Here’s the view from today:

Normally you can see Erebus from the ice runway. Today it was too snowy!

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