First glimpse of Antarctica
We have arrived!
This is our very first view of the continent as seen from the C17, a large military cargo plane used by the US Atarctic Program to transport cargo and passengers between New Zealand and Antarctica. I was looking out one of a few tiny scratched windows in the front of the aircraft when one of the "flight attendants," an Air Force man in his mid-twenties, invited me up into the cockpit for a better view. The Victoria Land coast lay beneath us in a vast expanse of snow and ice-capped peaks, wind-streaked sea ice, and an immense blue, clean sky. It was exhilarating. I watched in awe as we flew past Terra Nova Bay, Inexpressible Island, and the Drygalsky Ice Tongue, the jagged, floating tongue of a glacier that is born high in the Transantarctic Mountains and dives directly into the Ross Sea. We landed directly on the frozen sea.