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I Went To Antarctica!

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2001 2:58 pm
by Transactoid
This was certainly the most unique experience I've ever had. I'm not an airline expert, so my details probably won't be as great as you'd like  Smile

We flew from Toronto Pearson international on Air Canada to New York (LaGuardia or JFK? I forget). It was a quick flight...great view flying over New York City and nice landing coming in over the water. We transferred airports to whichever one we didn't land at  Smile

Here we got onboard an Aerolineas Argentinas A340...it was packed full! Service wasn't bad, I guess, but there were language barriers. Our group (we're a group of students) wandered the plane a lot, nobody seemed to care too much. But the flight was LONG. Very, very long. 11-something hours! Phew! I walked around a lot, which helped relieve some of the stiffness. I can't sleep on planes, so I reiterate it was a long flight!

We landed at the BA international airport early in the morning...it was already 30+ celcius outside. We spent the evening in BA and travelled to the BA "Aeropuerto Domestica". Here we boarded an Austral airliner, not sure what type of plane. THIS was an interesting flight. The ascent was very slow and seemingly laboured - I'm sure there was a reason for it, but not knowing anything about flying, it was rather worrisome. Any explanations? Whislt flying, I heard noises that I never knew airplanes were supposed to make - and the hull seemed to flex in ways I never knew airplanes could flex! The airplane was hot and the stewardesses were very strict about moving in the plane. The seatbelt light was on all the time, and there was much turbulance. Half way through the flight we had to refuel in a tiny military base in the middle of nowhere. We were stuck on the tarmac for quite a while, and not permitted to leave our seats the whole time! (Is this normal procedure when refuelling?) Finally, we took off and the flight continued. The take off was much quicker this time...

The landing was nothing special...everybody clapped, which I found amusing. We spent some time in Ushuaia, and this is where we got our boat from which took us to the Antarctic continent. But since this is an aviation site, I won't get into that.

After our time in the Antarctic, we returned to Ushuaia. We flew back to BA, and didn't need to refuel this time. The stewardesses were not overly friendly on this flight either. We had a documenatary crew with us, and one of them wanted to film us on the plane. He was continually hampered by the stewardess to sit down. I guess he technically should have - the light was on. But it was funny watching him get yelled at in Spanish  Smile The landing was rough - very rough. Again, I'm not expert so I can't make estimates at an angle or speed. It litterally felt like we dropped out of the sky! Like the bottom of the plane dropped out or something. We hit the ground, everything shook! I could tell that we didn't land properly; lo and behold the plane then BOUNCED up and hit the ground again! People were quite noisy after all this - chattering and wondering, clearly mad - at what exactly just happened. So it wasn't just me!

We flew Aerolineas again back to NY on what was another long 11 hour flight. The movies were bad, and so was the food. The attendants rarely came by. However, flying over South America at night was quite spectacular - you could see all the lighted towns down below. There was a thunderstorm off in the distance which was nice. Turbulance as quite bad again at some points. The landing in New York City was quite nice, for once!

Then came the best part of the travelling - getting back on Air Canada! We had the run of the plane as it was quite empty. The pilot acknowledged us over the PA and the stewardesses were very inquisitive about the adventure we had undertaken. Further supporting my love affair with Air Canda!

Flying in Argentina was not too fun. The experience as a whole though was awesome. Keep up the good work Air Canada!




RE: I Went To Antarctica!

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2001 3:07 pm
by Transactoid
By BA, I meant Buenos Aires.  Insane

RE: I Went To Antarctica!

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2001 3:12 pm
by AgnusBymaster
Actually, I was looking forward to the Antarctica part! I assume you there doing research?

RE: I Went To Antarctica!

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2001 3:26 pm
by Transactoid
Actually, not exactly. It was a "learning oppurtunity" for Canadian students. About 52 students went, along with various polar experts. We did help with some experiments, but it was more or less meant as to give us an "awarness" of this important part of the environment. The idea being that we return home and educate our own communities about this fragile ecosystem.

It was amazing down there. I really hope it doesn't turn into the next big tourist destination...


RE: I Went To Antarctica!

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2001 6:02 am
by Guest
come on, and tell us a bit more about the antarctica, im sure everyone would love to read about it!!!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

BTW: that crash landing must have been quite scary i guess

cya

RE: I Went To Antarctica!

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2001 6:40 am
by Transactoid
Well, it wasn't really a "crash landing". Just very rough...there was deffinitely a noticable HARD GROUND-BOUNCE-HARD GROUND  Smile/happy/getting dizzy


Actually, I don't really know what to say about the Antarctic itself. We saw lots and lots of penguins...which smell really bad, BTW. The seas going across the infamous Drake Passage were bad, and I didn't handle it well at all. We did a "penguin dip" into the cold waters off the coast of Deception Island. There is an old hangar here and remnants of an airplane...not sure what make..prop driven. It used to be whaling station. A really awesome place to see. Tons of wildlife everywhere, lots of birds. I can't wait to go back! Which I WILL do  Wink/being sarcastic

RE: I Went To Antarctica!

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2001 7:00 am
by WorldTraveller
Thank's for the great report!

I'd love to hear about your Antartica experiences too!

Best regards
the WorldTraveller

RE: I Went To Antarctica!

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2001 10:56 am
by Transactoid
This site fully documented the trip:

www.studentsonice.sympatico.ca

This URL is highly relevent, so I guess it's alright to post it...  Smile/happy/getting dizzy