July 3, 2008 – I get to celebrate the receiving of the “official email notification” that my PQ (Physical Qualification) process has been completed!! I get to be a Shuttle Driver, ONE MORE TIME!!!
Hard to imagine I could be just as excited over this as last year. Deployment to Antarctica is still several months away. Best estimated guess: beginning of OCTOBER!
After reading the email, I spent the first hour just walking around with a smile. WOW. I am actually getting to return to McMurdo – and another 5 months of daily adventure!
Next step: PACK and MAIL
The smartest thing I did last year was MAIL everything I would need by the end of July. That will almost guarantee it arriving at McMurdo before my arrival date. I know I will have 2 days of orientation in Denver before flying out. Then at least a day or 2 at Christchurch, New Zealand getting gear. I packed a little suitcase for 5 days of travel which made my getting TO McMurdo much easier! I was able to leave that suitcase at Christchurch, so only had to hassle with carrying my 2 ECW bags (Extreme Cold Weather) on that final 5 hour flight!
It is so nice when you are hired right away – get all the physical and dental exams completed so you can be “official” and able to mail early. Some staff last year didn’t get PQ’d until a couple of days BEFORE flying down! They end up carrying most of their items (and there is a 50lb. limit!). When you mail boxes – it can take at least 2 months to arrive- especially if you mail in Sept or Oct.
Last year I sent too much (as all first timer’s do). This year, I will limit my clothing, as we wear the same couple of items over and over. I already knew how to crochet and learned how to do some basic knitting last season. I will ship lots of yarn to keep my fingers happy when stranded out on ‘the ice’. I had the title of “fastest crocheter in the South”. I also was the best dressed (when it came to matching hat and scarves!) Clothing – well, I’m only taking dark items, as you get so dirty and grimy. (Doing vehicle maintenance.)
I’m still giving ‘programs’ about my first season “on the ice”. Am booked through SEPTEMBER 21!!! People ask if I get tired of talking about it. NO!!! I love sharing – and have tried to assist a few others in applying. (Raytheon.com – under Polar Services)
…..insert BIG SMILEY FACE here…..