Most of the group got their first look at Antarctica as we dismounted the plane at the Union Glacier "airport." The runway is a windy place, the winds continually scrubbing the snow off the ice and making this possible. We were escorted to a small building that served as a waiting area for vehicles to shuttle us the approximately 8 kilometers to camp. At the camp, the first thing we got was a short briefing about the restrooms. Everything here is separated between liquid and solids, so you do your business at separate spots. Nothing is left here at the end of the season--barrels of urine and gray-water and bags of waste are all shipped back to Punta Arenas to be disposed of.
In fact, everything here is to be kept as pristine as possible, so there are special disposal/recycling methods for everything.
We waited for our luggage and our sleeping bags to be brought from the plane until nearly 5:30, so two hours before breakfast we were finally able to get some sleep.
Our accommodations are double-walled clamshell type tents, equiped with beds, a table, towel, washcloth, soap and washbasin. Because it's daylight 24 hours a day, the sun keeps the inside of the tent fairly warm--sometimes even uncomfortably so. At 10:30 I decided it was time to get up and walk around a bit.
The cooks here are amazing. Every meal is well balanced, with options that work for carnivores or vegetarians. No one has ever gone hungry here at camp.
Back to the mission. Given that we didn't even get to bed until almost breakfast time, we won't be running the marathon today, but it's on for tomorrow, 1 December. Right now I'm feeling kinda like a kid the night before Christmas. Thursday, 1 December 2011, I'm taking about 4 days off the world record!
Dinner at 7:00, then a marathon briefing by Richard. A relaxing evening at Union Glacier camp