Ice flight day! We were picked up at our hotels at 5:45 am to prepare for a 9 am flight. In order to be allowed on the cargo plane (a C-130), you need to be wearing all your ECW gear which feels pretty strange since it's a beautiful summer day in Christchurch. All our baggage is checked except for a small carry-on. Ear protection is important on the cargo planes - you are basically trapped in a noisy, metal tube for 8 hours ( or longer if we "boomerang"). Boomerang means the crew decided the weather isn't safe for landing in Antarctica, and they turn around and go back. If you're sleeping, you might land in New Zealand again and be very confused by the sheep and grass!
After >24 hours of commercial airlines, team protist successfully arrived in Christchurch, NZ. We have a day and a half to recuperate, enjoy the food and sights of Christchurch, and most importantly, prepare our scientific and cold weather gear for the "ice flight".
We were a bit nervous that one of our science cases was missing, but Parnell finally spied it as one of the last items on the carousel.
This afternoon we started our long journey from Cincinnati airport to Christchurch, New Zealand. The trip will take three flights, the longest of which will be the Chicago to Aukland flight, which will take 16.5 hours. We arrived 3 hrs before our flight, which might seem excessive, but not when you're trying to convince ticketing agents to check all our science gear!
The phyto PAM fluorometer goes for a bus ride to the International terminal in Chicago Airport. This instrument lets us measure algae community activity in real time.