Altogether, accounting for both flying time and layovers, we’ve already been on the move for

2 + 6 + 2 + 13 + 3 + 1.5 = 27.5 hours

from Washington, D.C. to Christchurch, New Zealand. Flights and airports disorient all senses of space and time; we become more anonymous while we traverse time zones and distorted political borders. It’s an apt preview of the transcendence of our destination. Under the Antarctic Treaty, Antarctica does not belong to any single political entity. The continent spans all 24 time zones, yet it can be continuously illuminated or dark for months at a time. Facing nature in its rawest form, we will indeed be reminded of our anonymity as we coexist with the cornucopia of flora, fauna, and microbiota on Earth.

Christchurch is a beautiful city located on South Island in New Zealand. We stopped here to regroup, rest, and get our government issued Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) clothing. We were delayed for 24 hours so we had some extra time to catch up on sleep and get to know a vibrantly hip and deeply resilient locale.

IMG_3307 editedsmFigure 1. All the gear we need to survive in Antarctica! Far left: Big Red, the canonical parka for all US Antarctic Program grantees and personnel.


IMG_3280 editedsmFigure 2. A little garden across from the Canterbury Museum, which documents Māori history and British colonization of New Zealand. 


IMG_3381 editedsmFigure 3. Re:START, the mall built from upcycled shipping containers. 


IMG_3459 editedsmFigure 4. On exhibit at the Christchurch Art Gallery; it’s built from 0.5 mm pencil lead!