This morning, I received my itinerary for heading down to the Ice.
This will be my sixth summer season and in addition to my six winters,
I will be entering my twelfth season in Antarctica. I'll be leaving on
September 27th, with an on-Ice date of October 3rd. Often, I'll tell
people where I work and I'll get one of the two W's. People will say
"Wow" or more often than not, "Why?" Either way, most people can't
wrap their head around just how far McMurdo Station, Antarctica is
from the United States, let alone the logistics involved of getting there.
I found an excellent mapping program called "Great Circle Mapper"
that will actually let you connect dot-to-dot how far it is between
the world's airports (including those in Antarctica!) I used this to
illustrate just how far it is. I live in Colorado, so my trip is actually
shorter than flying from say, Maine. Several friends of mine have this
distance to fly so I feel their pain! As for me, it will be 10,426 miles of
flying. 8,041 of which I will get frequent flyer miles. Why not the
additional 2,385? Because these are flown from Christchurch, New
operated by the Australian Antarctic Division. Unfortunately these
fine organizations don't give frequent flyer miles. This total
distance will take 23 hours of flying time. This doesn't include layovers,
delays, scheduled stops, etc. Just flying time! So there you go. It is
indeed a long, long trip, and I'll be making it in just over three weeks