November 5, 2011 3:59am

November 5, 2011

Novo station, Antarctica

S70°49.388 E11°38.646

After emotional goodbyes, Eric and I head for the airport for a 23:30 departure. We meet a motley crew of passengers sharing the ride to Novolazarevskaya station. Amongst them some familiar faces from the polar world; those you come to expect at one point or another in this type of setting, as well as support personnel and scientists. On the tarmac, we board the Russian Ilujshin 76 cargo plane. With only two single portholes and no sound insulation, this Russian legend is every bit as charismatic as its reputation holds! No premium seating on these flights. The ceiling is stripped exposing all the conduits, the luggage for about forty passengers, and the toilet is a porta-potty strapped at the back! The heavy plane takes off into the night sky for a six hour flight. We are handed ear plugs and I manage to steal a couple of hours of cramped sleep. Soon the southern sun beams through the porthole. We are told to change into our Antarctic outfits. Landing is imminent. Below, the fractured sea ice spells the coming reality of the next twelve weeks. We are about to step into the cold. The plane lands as gracefully as an ice runway will let it. The door opens; the blinding white light and cold air fills the cabin. Stepping off the ladder, my foot lands on the hard ice of Antarctica.

2 Responses to “Landed!”

  1. Penelope Casadesus says:

    Wow! I guess you’re really going through with this, then?? I kinda hoped that you’d stop at Table Mountain and the Capetown beaches! Oh well—Good luck from now on to both of you; my thoughts are with you every step of the way. All my love – your mother who loves you xxxx

  2. BASILE says:

    This plane is amazing.

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