Thursday, August 11, 2011
Packing for Antarctica is an experience. First off, it’s the middle of Summer and in southeast Georgia it is highly difficult to locate clothing suitable for cold weather. Hooray for online shopping!
But really, I’m kind of winging it on what to buy. I have taken the advice of my future supervisor and have gotten fleece pants to wear for work. I’ve also bought a coat. I haven’t owned a coat in years. It just doesn’t get cold enough here to warrant wearing one. I have also purchased a few other clothing items, turtlenecks, long-johns… I still need jeans, socks, boots… This weekend is going to consist of locating those last missing things.
At first I was worried about the fact that I’m basically going to be wearing the same things over and over but so are 1200 other people… No big deal. So now I’m looking through what I currently own and trying to decide if I need it on the ice or not. Or if I want it. Will it be destined for a Skua bin early on in the trip…
* A quick note about Skua bins. Everything on the ice gets recycled or shipped back to the states. Or it goes home with those who brought it. Skua bins are big recycling bins that are sorted by what is in them. Different categories are clothing, shoes, books, decor, magazines, movies. You get the point. It’s a free Goodwill. The word “Skua” is a real word. It is a type of bird that migrates to Antarctica during the summer months (humans aren’t the only crazy beings that flock there). Skua’s are scavengers. I have read that they are like rats with wings and talons. They have been known to dive-bomb people walking through McMurdo. People normally carry things above their heads to prevent said attacks. Picture a large dark demonic looking Seagull. If you have ever seen the movie Happy Feet, the birds that threaten to eat the cute little dancing penguin are Skuas. So, since they’re scavengers, it is kind of fitting that the bins (that anyone is free to go through) are named after them.
Back to the subject of packing… So I was told that I can either take some “comfort food” with me or not. There is a cafeteria that will be the main place for meals and such, but if I wanted anything in particular that wasn’t perishable, I could bring it. Since I don’t think I can get away with bringing a few rib-eyes or sushi rolls, I decided on things like powdered soup mix, hot chocolate mix, individual microwave-able mac n cheese things, canned olives, and other random stuff. A lot of it is going to be boxed up and shipped down before I go so hopefully I will get it by October. I may send a few shirts down too so I can have the excitement of getting “new” clothes while I am there.
Figuring out how much I should take in the way of hygiene products is also interesting. How much shampoo and conditioner will I use in 6 months? It is heavy and I don’t want to over pack, but I also don’t want to take the chance of the store there not having the kind I like to use. And what if I ship it and it bursts all over? That would suck to get an empty, sticky bottle of shampoo. These are things I never really think about from day to day because we have the convenience of “civilization”.
So, if anyone wants to send me something (and I would be appreciative of anything) please remember, if it’s food, it needs to be non-perishable. Don’t send me liquor. And please done use any packing material that will cause way too much excess waste. Packing peanuts or “angel poop” is forbidden on the ice due to the possibility of it escaping and getting tossed about all over the landscape by serious gusts of wind. Also, as tempting as sending glitter filled envelopes is… Same story.
Well, tomorrow is my last day at Glynn Brunswick 911 and I better get some sleep.