Well, we’re not there yet. This morning we woke up and after breakfast headed over to the Antarctic terminal. But we found out around 10:30 am, less than 3 hours before our scheduled departure, that the flight was postponed for 11 hours because of inclement weather. We don’t know if the weather issue is at McMurdo, on the way, or here in Christchurch (it’s raining today), but does it matter?
With 11 hours to kill, some chose to chill at the hotel, but the rain didn’t deter a few of us from getting crammed into a rental car headed to the Hanmer hot springs, 2 hours north of Christchurch. I was expecting hot springs in the wild (although we knew we could bathe in them and took a swimsuit accordingly), but the village turned out to be pretty touristy and the “springs” an aquapark with hot water. Still, it was pretty cool to duck the rain immersed in a warm sulfur-smelling bath surrounded by trees that look decidedly unlike anything we can see in the northern hemisphere. We also got to see impressive landscapes that must be stunning when not obscured by low clouds, drive through wine country, and see a plethora of sheep and cows along the way.
Once back in Christchurch, we learned that the flight was postponed one more hour, until 2 pm, which is just about hours away. Our group is getting ready for a night flight during which the sun will rise just because we’re going south (there is no night in Antarctica at the moment, it’s the middle of austral summer). Let’s see if we make it this time!
Edit: Never mind, new reporting time: 6:30 am tomorrow, likely for a 9 am take-off.
Hover over the pictures for captions, and click to enlarge.