Ice and Medicine at the end of the earth

Arrived at McMurdo Station, Antarctica

I have arrived safely at McMurdo Station after an amazing flight over the sea ice and Mt. Erebus.  Early in the season, the USAP (US Antarctic Program) uses an Australian Airbus for transportation rather than the Military C-17 that is commonly documented in photographs.  While I was bummed that I did not get the “classic experience,”  I was able to fly in style!  I was lucky enough to have a reclining seat next to the window. 

Airbus - flying in style!


We had crystal clear skies and many experienced veterans have never seen the incredible views that we had.  As we approached the antarctic continent, we were excited to see sea ice.  Little did I know that the views would only get better. 

View from the plane.


The colors were phenomenal.  We then saw Mt. Erebus out my window.  This is the southernmost active volcano on earth with an elevation of 12, 448 feet. 

Mt. Erebus from the plane.



Prior to landing, we were instructed to put on our ECW gear.  I was nervous about the cold and wind that would greet us as we stepped off the plane.   It was the nicest day of the season so far with no wind, bright blue skies and “warm” weather.  The max temp on base that day was 5 degrees Fahrenheit.  Not too bad when you are wearing goose down and “bunny boots.” 


We landed on the ice runway which is a few miles from McMurdo base.  We were then transported to another briefing by “Ivan the Terra Bus.”  This is one of the large transport vehicles at McMurdo base. 

Ice Transportation


I have settled into my dorm room and spent some time touring the clinic.  I will officially start seeing patients on Monday.  They are giving me a couple of days to get used to the clinic and the large time change. 

Thanks for all of the email, facebook and comment messages!!  It keeps me connected. 

I will try to put together a tour of town this weekend.

7 responses

  1. marisa lord

    You look great and it looks like you have gotten started on the right foot! I can’t wait to see more pictures of your experience.

    Have fun!

    September 24, 2010 at 4:44 AM

  2. Andrew

    Great pics! Good weather conspired against bonus time in NZ… Have fun!

    September 24, 2010 at 5:57 AM

  3. Regina

    Whoa. You guys got WINDOWS? That’s some VIP treatment right there!

    And don’t worry, I expect you’ll get the cargo plane on the way back. 🙂

    September 24, 2010 at 10:02 AM

  4. Kelly

    So cool! I am so glad you are safe, and what a beautiful place! Love you!

    September 24, 2010 at 10:43 AM

  5. Kristin

    Whoah, an airbus! You lucky duck! I’d say you owe the USAP a boomerang on a C-130 next time… I think that’s 10 or 12 hours sitting in a cargo net. Glad you are there and safe and warm and not a crampy pretzel from the flight!

    September 24, 2010 at 2:08 PM

  6. Lila Minnich

    I was so happy to receive the pictures of your arriving in Antarctica. What a marveleous experience for you and what a great arrangement that the two of you can be there together. I look forward to more pictures and updates. Thanks for including me in this adventure!

    September 26, 2010 at 4:24 AM

  7. Judy Weightman, Marcia's boat ptnr

    Dear Jessie,
    Marcia sent your pictures to me and I am in total marvel. I’d love to be on your email list and friend you on Facebook. I am fascinated by your adventure and would love to share your experiences if only electronically! Have the time of your life.
    Amazing Grace!

    September 28, 2010 at 4:05 PM

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