Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Journey to Antarctica

Our group (Ross, Mike, Elizabeth, and Becky) left Dartmouth very early Monday morning. The bad weather made us late to the airport and we almost missed our flight! We have now arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand late Wednesday morning. Because of the time zone difference, we traveled for almost 36 hours (1.5 days) but arrived in New Zealand over two days later! New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, like Antarctica, so it is summer here. When we left Dartmouth, it was snowing and sleeting, and about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, two days later in New Zealand, it is 70 degrees and the flowers are blooming!

While in New Zealand, we will get outfitted with all of the warm clothing we will need for Antarctica. Then, very early Friday morning (which will be late Thursday morning for most of the people reading this blog), we will board a plane to take us to Antarctica. In the meantime, I think I will enjoy the warm weather while I can!

In Christchurch, we went to the Canterbury Museum, which teaches about the natural history and human heritage of New Zealand. There is a whole section about Antarctica and the explorers that have been going to Antarctica since the early 1800's. It's amazing that people have been exploring and studying Antarctica for 200 years! People were going to Antarctica before there were great inventions like fleece and portable power generators! We saw some of the gear and huts used by explorers such as Roald Amundsen (who led the first group to reach the South Pole in 1912), Robert F. Scott (who was racing Amundsen to the South Pole, but lost and died on the way back), and my hero Sir Edmund Hillary (who has explored a lot of really neat places besides Antarctica, including Mt. Everest).