South Pole Diaries 1995    


21st January 1995

From Michael Ashley.....

Up at 5:30 we finish packing and Michael Burton drives us to Sydney airport. There we panic some more since my airline ticket, that was supposed to be fed-exed from Colorado, hasn't arrived. No amount of faxing or phoning the people in Colorado helps, so I have to buy a new ticket. Meanwhile, John captures graphic footage of Michael and I sipping cappuchinos and shuttling between various airline service desks. John's enthusiasm for finding interesting camera angles is legendary, and we often catch the telltale glint of the lens from behind plants and airport furniture.

The flight to Christchurch is uneventful, although John is disturbed to find that only UHT milk is available for the in-flight coffee. Already we are experiencing some of the hardships and deprivations of previous Antarctic explorers such as Amundsen and Scott.

Upon arrival in New Zealand we are met by a representative of Antarctic Support Associates, who gives us orientation information. My hotel booking went astray but is easily fixed. I'm beginning to wonder if they will have a bunk allocated for me at the Pole ...

The current plan is for us to be kitted out with clothing on Monday, and to fly to McMurdo on Wednesday.

The afternoon is spent getting some last minute supplies (e.g., lip balm is apparently essential for the low humidity conditions at the Pole) and obtaining background video shots of Christchurch for the film. The Christchurch Botanical Gardens are spectacular, and John manages to film all but three of the 2000 ducks on the 5 km of river that snakes through the park.