I had woken up early so that I could go get coffee (well, really I woke up early because my scheduled transport time to the airfield was 0730 but I woke up earlier than that so that I could get coffee). Then the waiting began. Just sitting, watching the transport channel on the tv in the lounge scroll through the scheduled arrivals and departures for the day waiting to see if it was the day.
Then we saw it. ‘Mission Activated’. We all scattered in a flurry to complete clearing out our rooms and any last minute packing before heading up the hill to check-in and be shuttled over to the airfield. It was a beautiful day as we drove out onto the ice shelf towards the Basler that would take us to the South Pole.
What followed was around four hours of some of the most gorgeous landscapes I’ve ever seen. The pilots flew the plane relatively low (otherwise they would have to put everyone on oxygen), so we were able to get some amazing (and really close!) views of some of the Antarctic mountains. The pictures don’t even begin to do them justice.
Since we were one of the last planes of passengers to arrive, there was quite the welcome party waiting for us. After a brief discussion on adjusting to altitude (the physiological altitude was roughly 10500 ft when I landed) I was shown to my room so that I could unpack and rest a bit (I can see the Geographic South Pole from my window!). After lunch I got a quick tour around the station (with lots of stops because I kept getting tired, stupid altitude!) and my new office/desk.
The next two days were full of learning all of my responsibilities and getting up to speed on the different experiments I will be running. I was completely exhausted at the end of each day (again, stupid altitude) and crashed into bed after dinner. Hopefully soon I will be adjusted and have more energy, I’ve heard it taking anywhere from 1 week to 1 month. In the meantime I will do what I can, while taking lots of breaks to catch my breath.