I have never been known as someone who travels lightly, but this takes the cake. I had my ‘kitting’ appointment this afternoon, and besides rolling around laughing at how ridiculous I looked, I also walked away with around 20 kg of kit appropriate for all things Antarctic. This includes 6 different pairs of gloves, all with specific uses. My favourite are the newly issued mittens that go in your survival kit. (The survival kit being the only bag you grab if you are heading off the ship, and thank goodness not included in your baggage allowance). They are gortex, thinsulate, aeronautically designed super gloves (okay I made up the aeronautical bit), with an interesting feature that the sheepskin is on the outside. A design flaw? Why no, not at all, it’s so you can wipe your runny nose without scratching your already frozen face. I’m not sure it is something that Kleenex should explore marketing but I must say I am terribly impressed by my sheepskin and leather hand hankies (see below).
What I am not impressed about is that the VIP’s get fur-lined hoods in their goose-down Hydronaute Pro TM insulated outer jackets (no I didn’t make that name up). The mere mortals go without the fur trim. I was being kitted at the same time as a VIP so I have seen the benefits of being important. If Will Steffen is not nervous about getting his jacket pinched then he should be, I was not exactly subtle about coveting his Very Important Person’s fur trim. But back to being impressed. Our thermals are black, which means we either look like ninja’s or stage hands depending on your proclivity. So rather than a pirate on the high seas, I now like to think of myself as a climate ninja. And all of my boots are worthy of a mention, all three pairs: steel capped gum boots (in ninja black), snow boots incase we get the chance to get off the ship and walk on THE continent (also in ninja black) and fur-trimmed work boots (in ninja tan).
We have 30 kg allowance and 13 kg has just been issued to me. I may very well have to show up for my ‘weigh in’ tomorrow wearing half my gear. No it’s not a boxing match but they do call it a weigh in and they are apparently very strict on keeping to the designated allowance. I may be put in to the heavyweight class. That or I’ll surreptitiously stick some gear into one of the VIP’s bags. I bet you they can get away with excess luggage.
So I’m not sure what the rest of the world is up to tomorrow, but I have the gear, come 10:30pm I’m off to the Antarctic!