August 22, 2005

Antarctica recommendations (McMurdo)

I had sent these recommendations to a grad student of mine...

You need, or should have, the following things to take with:

- 100% UV sunglasses (perscription sunglasses are fine)
- if you care about the fashion, a pair of ski goggles, otherwise the ones they issue are okay
- wool socks (4-6 pairs)---smartwool is good (sierratradingpost has them on special)
- pair of medium boots, not mountaineering boots, not "Arctic" boots, but insulated comfortable boots for around town (I like Asolo mid-weights, backpacking boots like the 535)
- an extra duffel bag (you are issued two red duffels that you must take with you, you carry one and check the other, you can also check an additional bag down to the ice, but you need an extra duffel to store stuff in New Zealand (shorts/sandals/that sort of thing) since the checked bags leave your control and you might find yourself back in NZ without checked bags!)
- just before going down there, update antivirus software (check the site licenses)
- soap (in theory it's supposed to be biodegradeable, in practice whatever you take is fine, Dr. Bronner's covers both requirements)
- towel or two
- a good set of thermal underwear, either silk or polypro, mid-weight rather than "expedition" weight

When getting your gear in New Zealand:

- make sure things are the right size!
- turn down most of the extra gloves, you just need a basic pair and the overgloves (latter is required)
- try to get a pair of Blue EBX boots rather than the standard rubber boot (mickey mouse)
- if they have your size, get the military wool pants rather than the nylon overalls
- another option instead of the nylon overalls are the cotton duck work overalls (it'll make you more of a blue collar person in McMurdo, your choice)

Hotels in Christchurch:

- the B&Bs are European-style B&Bs, not American, so think bathroom down the hall, very basic inn
- don't stay near the airport, there's a good bus service between downtown and the airport/Antarctic center
- the quality order is Backpackers, B&B, Motel, Hotel, "Others" are way out of town mostly
- Devon Hotel and Windsor are popular, Pacific Park is a trip (US western theme, a little further out of downtown, but close enough to walk easily), Croydon right next to Devon is also supposed to be good, Camelot was liked by one of my colleagues

Interesting bit on Arctic travel with asthma.

Posted by duver001 at August 22, 2005 2:54 PM