Monday, June 6, 2011

Packing Dos and Don’ts, Wishes and Wants

June 5th

As we wrap up NBP1103, I thought it would be fun to apply our newfound Antarctic expertise to reflect on what each of packed for this trip. What did people pack that they subsequently didn’t need? Were there items left at home that are now desperately desired? What about items that were surprisingly useful or nice to have?

Approaching a month into the cruise, I can definitively say that I overpacked. Way overpacked. I-could-have-survived-being-abandoned-in-the-wild-for-a-year overpacked. Some things have been worthwhile; for example I brought 14 pairs of socks I am glad for all of them. But six short-sleeve t-shirts? Did I think I was going to the tropics? With some rare exceptions I’ve uniformly worn long-sleeve shirts. In fact, most of the clothing I wear was issued to me in Punta Arenas: our designated “Extreme Cold Weather” gear. It turns out the staff who live and work in Antarctica know exactly what you’ll need and, in my experience, the issue clothing has completely replaced my own over-stuffed luggage.

I decided to ask around on the ship the three questions I posed above. The range of Antarctic packing experience in the interviewees ranges from none (ie: me!) to quite a lot (our Raytheon staff, many of whom only bring down a single backpack and count on personal and issued gear left in Punta Arenas after their last trip). So, if you find yourself packing for an Antarctic trip anytime soon, best take a look at this list of packing regrets, surprises, and recommendations!

Is there an item you brought but haven’t yet used?

Laura: My own chocolate. There are so many cakes in the galley!
Kathleen: Knitting supplies
Kate: Sunglasses
Tina: Hairdryer
Chris: Personal cold-weather clothing
Mercer: Razor
Andrew: Sea sickness medications
Mariana: T-shirts
Lindsey: First aid kit
Sandy: High-heeled sandals (from a wedding prior to NBP1103)
Skip: Laptop
Melissa: Extra shampoo
George: Everything I brought
Kais: Binoculars. The ship has them!
Stian: Camera
Eric: Sick sickness wristbands
Michelle: Nail polish
David: My own cold-weather clothing (except for my REI vest, Hi Elizabeth!)
Rhian: Running sneakers
Ben: Snow boots
Suzy: Tweed shorts

Is there an item you didn’t bring but wish you had?

Laura: Hot water bottle
Kate: Third book of the Stieg Larssen trilogy
Tina: A hairband
Mercer: More photos of family
Andrew: Speakers and a 1-foot ruler
Mariana: Mate, an Argentinian infused tea
Joe: More coffee
Sheldon: Spare wireless card
Lindsey: Pajama pants
Sandy: A really good book
Melissa: Mustache/beard hat
George: A computer
Andrea: Winter boots and more black sharpies
Kais: A videocamera
Michelle: Deely boppers and HP Sauce (British thing)
David: More podcasts
Rhian: Chocolate-covered raisins
Shannon: Some DVD’s from my personal collection
Ben: A football
Suzy: Slippers

Is there something you did bring and are now really glad to have?

Laura: Purple hard-hat
Kathleen: Down comforter
Kate: Intensive hand moisturizer
Tina: A hat
Andrew: Thin gloves (For better taking photos outdoors)
Chris: An iPod
Mercer: Gum
Joe: A laptop
Lindsey: Quilting stuff
Sandy: Christmas lights!
Skip: Books
Melissa: A laptop
George: Grapefruit seed extract (for getting over colds)
John: Lots of socks
Andrea: A hot water bottle
Kais: Camera
David: Slippers, Bohnanza
Marshall: Extra video monitors for the TowCam, speakers for music
Rhian: Deely boppers (everyone has had so much enjoyment from them!)
Shannon: Chapstick
Ben: Low-cut socks
Suzy: Swimming costume for the sauna

By David

Weather: temperature 30 ºF, windchill -4 ºF, wind speed 30 knots (gusting to 40-50 knots), some sun peeking through the clouds

Figure 1: Before and after!  All the things David packed for the cruise… (D. Case)

Figure 2:  

Figure 3: Kate modeling deely boppers, in case you didn’t know what they were… (R. Waller).

Figure 4:  Laura and Rhian doing some serious contemplation at the mapping desk!

Figure 5: Meanwhile, we have been busy sorting and packing samples.  Here is a tray of fossil solitary corals from one of our dredges, ready to be weighed and packed for transport (A. Margolin).

Before and after!  All the things David packed for the cruise… (D. Case)
David and Andrew sporting their issued United States Antarctic Program (USAP) coats on board the ARV Nathaniel B Palmer.
Kate modeling deely boppers, in case you didn’t know what they were… (R. Waller).
Laura and Rhian doing some serious contemplation at the mapping desk!
Meanwhile, we have been busy sorting and packing samples.  Here is a tray of fossil solitary corals from one of our dredges, ready to be weighed and packed for transport (A. Margolin).

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