[re]Packing & Aotearoa Arrival

Some think it's crazy that we'd look forward to going to a place that looks like this out your front window: 

The view from a McMurdo window (that's a railing in the foreground) out onto the sea ice during a Condition 2 (almost the worst rating) storm taken by Weddell seal project graduate student Kaitlin Macdonald just 4 days ago.

But, that is undeniably the case. We are stoked! Two days ago, the second half of the Weddell seal team departed from the continental US (Alissa and Aubrey from Montana and myself from Idaho) and flew about 18 hours to Christchurch, New Zealand (Aotearoa). Here's a very quick vid of my last minute preparation (toying with the new GoPro), which included a complete repack of already packed bags (just to be sure I had everything!). Yes, that is my mother, whom I am always grateful for in her assistance and advice provision.

In Christchurch, we were greeted with the greenness and freshness of spring time. Flowers blooming everywhere, birds singing and courting, and rain! But it did not stop us from venturing to the Botanical Gardens and Cathedral Square (still recovering from the 2011 earthquakes):

The New Zealand native plants garden in the Botanical Gardens

Myself, Alissa, and Aubrey enjoying the rain and the Botanical Gardens

Cathedral Square recovering from the earthquake

Many art projects have sprung up all over downtown, serving to enliven and bring hope for full recovery

I stood within the cathedral prior to the earthquakes and my previous escapades to the Antarctic. It is disheartening to see it as such.

And I'll leave you with a New Zealand fantail...definitely one of my faves: