So after 4 flights and something like 28 hours of travel after departing on our first one, we ended up in Christchurch, New Zealand. This is always one of my favorite places on the planet with wonderful people and a totally different feel to the states. Among the most amazing parts is that all of our bags even made it.
We have spent our time since then sitting through virtual training to take care of some that we would otherwise have to do when we get to Antarctica. Covid remains a problem globally and New Zealand is no different. Many of us have been hunkering down for the two weeks before we left and now are hunkering down in New Zealand, trying to avoid exposure and (as you can see from the pictures) wearing masks throughout. So we spend out time here, not enjoying the wonderful food and beauty, but instead sitting in a hotel room and on zoom. However, this is the first time in a long time that there is not mandatory isolation quarantine (translated to 2 weeks locked in a hotel room where you are literally not allowed to leave) and so the few days we have here are just fine. In addition, we can still go for walks and so I was able to continue my long-standing tradition of visiting the Christchurch Botanical Gardens to enjoy the smell of soil and plants before a few months of none of that.
Our flights remain a bit delayed which is very normal for this time of year. We are among the first since Winter to try and rejoin the frozen continent and so little challenges plague the flights, from cold to wind to a runway made of Ice that hasn’t been used for many months. Right now we are scheduled to fly on Sunday (2 days from now) but long ago I learned that you fly to Antarctica when the fates align and sometimes that is sooner than others. No reason to rush, because it just doesn’t help.