Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An Unexpected Journey

Recently I was offered to opportunity to go down to Antarctica for the winter. The only catch was that I had about 12 hours to think about it and about two weeks to get ready to go. The offer came out of the blue. I had applied last May for a summer (Oct. - Feb.) position and hadn't really heard anything back from them. So I assumed it was over and was getting ready to apply again for next summer. As it turned out, the guy they had hired for the winter position backed out at the 11th hour and they were scrambling to replace him before the ice closes and it gets too cold to fly down there. So, I got the call.

Obviously, I jumped at the chance, and with where I'm at in my life (no major ties that aren't going to be here when I get back, no leases, no payments to keep track of) I had no excuses for saying no. So, tomorrow I leave for Denver, and then New Zealand on Saturday, and Antarctica by Feb 8th. In Denver I'll get a physical, a dental check-up, and a psych eval. In New Zealand, I'll get my extreme cold weather gear (ECW). Then I'll fly, with that gear on, in a ski-equipped LC-130 Hercules turboprop plane, down to McMurdo base, on the coast of Antarctica. Then I'll take another flight 1000 miles inland to the South Pole base, where I meet the people I'm going to be spending the next 9 months of my life with. Should be fun.

I spent the first part of last week letting people know I was going, trying to get paper work done, and getting my blood taken. I also got to go on an awesome trip with WI up to the BW and ski and dogsled with some great ladies. It was a good way to relax a little bit before this next adventure. Yesterday, I packed like mad and got most of the way done. Hurray! I also went to a going away party thrown my my friend and Vakava teammate, Cheryl. It was great to get to say good-bye to the Vakava folks and some others from the ski community. I'm grateful to Cheryl for getting the party organized, and on extremely short notice.

I am going to miss everybody and will try to post regularly to my new blog (http://antarcticdispatches.blogspot.com/) to keep folks updated.

One favor, if anyone has book recommendations, please let me know. I am trying to fill up the Nook that Robb, the coach over at Central, has lent me.

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