Friday, December 21, 2012

Antarctic Adventure 2012
Every year, the Naval  Academy selects one lucky Midshipmen to venture off to the South Pole for an Antarctica Trip over Christmas break. I was very fortunate this year to be selected. My name is Kelsey Ragsdale and I am a Senior at the Naval Academy. Some basic information about me so you know who is talking to you, I am an Honors Oceanography Major. I am an Army Brat and grew up in West Point, NY. I service selected Surface Warfare Oceanography option, which means that I will serve in the fleet as a Surface Warfare Officer (in hopefully Japan or Hawaii) for a few years before I laterally transfer into the METOC community. After watching Titanic and shark week at way to young of an age, the ocean and ice have always fascinated me.  It is a true dream come true to  be given this opportunity to travel to Antarctica  and get some hands on experience and to apply what I have learned in the classroom. 

My adventure became on December 18th as I left my family home in Arlington, VA and headed to Dulles. I had prepared the night before my watching Happy Feet and searching online for anything involving Antarctica. The plan was to fly to San Fransisco have a two hour layover and hop on another flight to New Zealand. However, the presence of a strong headwind lead to a slight change in plans. The plane had to land in Kansas City, MO to refuel, which took longer than expected increasing the delay time from 30 minutes to two and a half hours.  Thankfully CDR Hager came to the rescue and had re-booked my flights routing to me New Zealand through Australia that night.  And that is how I ended up with seven hours to kill in the Sydney.  Australia has a great public transportation system and I was able to get a cheap train ticket to explore the city for a few hours. It was an ideal layover, what could be better than walking around the Circular Quay, eating gelato, seeing the Sydney Opera House.  After that is was a relatively short flight to Christchurch, New Zealand. I arrived in New Zealand around 0100 on the 21st. Unfortunately my bag got lost in the shuffle. I entered New Zealand with one change of shirt a pair of shorts. Not really conducive attire for the ice. The Antarctic Program was extremely helpful and the command First Sergeant picked me up from the airport and brought me to my hotel, the Commodore Copthorne  Hotel. After one long travel day, I finally completed the 1st leg of my travel journey to the South Pole.  

1 comment:

  1. I am glad they still have the program running for mids. I went on the Polar Sea as one of two mids back in 2003 to McMurdo Station. The quote about Ernest Shackleton's hut and it being eerie is about the same words I used to describe it in a journal I kept from my experience. It's definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity, enjoy it now as you will look back on it and smile.