3.7 Travel to Antarctica, Preparation, Departure and On-Ice Life

The following section will provide general guidance and, in some cases, specific information regarding participation as an MIS Science Team Member on-ice. Information provided may change, so please contact your National Representative(s), the SMO, or in the case of U.S. participants, the United States Antarctic Program Participant Guide 2006-2008 Edition for final direction and/or clarification. (All new or never deployed U.S. participants will receive the 2006-2008 United States Antarctic Program (USAP) Guide with other information later this summer. For U.S. participants who have recently deployed in the past, please refer to the Guide provided then, or access Guide information at USAP.

3.7.1 Travel to Christchurch and Antarctica

Designated Science Team Members will be contacted by the ANDRILL SMO to coordinate science needs, travel itineraries and to record Science Team Members' passport numbers for a travel database. We request passport information in order to ensure that all participants have and will continue to have valid passports while traveling through New Zealand and into Antarctica. Database information will be used by the SMO for ANDRILL business only. For additional information regarding passports and visas see sections 3.7.2 and 3.7.3 below.

All travel itineraries and ticketing for U.S. Participants to Christchurch, New Zealand will be provided through the U.S. Raytheon Polar Services Company (RPSC) office; all International Participant travel to Christchurch should be arranged through respective national Antarctic science or funding agencies (the SMO recommends that all German, Italian and New Zealand participants contact their respective National Representatives to obtain information or direction regarding appropriate travel procedures). Once in Christchurch, all travel to the ice will be arranged through the RSPC.

Accommodations while in Christchurch will be arranged through RSPC based on information you provide later this summer to RSPC and the SMO. Please see Appendix D for examples of travel-related forms which will be distributed. You will receive an appropriate set of forms from either RSPC (for U.S. participants) or the SMO (for non-U.S. participants). Please complete those forms and return as directed.

3.7.2 Shipping Equipment and Materials: Cargo and Baggage to Antarctica

Participants are able to take or send required equipment and personal gear to Antarctica via two primary methods: CARGO and BAGGAGE. CARGO includes any shipment sent unaccompanied to New Zealand and onto Antarctica. Cargo is distinctly different from baggage. BAGGAGE is the category of items that will travel on the same plane as you. Each passenger is limited to a specific amount of baggage (pieces and weight) depending on the commercial airline you use to travel to New Zealand. Travelers to McMurdo Station (McMurdo) are limited to a total of 75 pounds (lbs) of baggage when flying via military aircraft from Christchurch to the ice. This includes personal luggage, equipment, and other items you deem appropriate or necessary for your stay at McMurdo, as well as your required extreme cold-weather (ECW) clothing. (ECW is issued by your respective Antarctic Program or institutions, see Section 3.7.11 and Appendix I for further information).

NOTE: The 75 lb baggage limitation is strictly enforced from Christchurch to McMurdo. Additional baggage in excess of this amount must be arranged in advance and approved by the ANDRILL SMO (following authorization from appropriate Antarctic Programs). SCIENCE TEAM MEMBERS ARE STRONGLY ADVISED/ ENCOURAGED TO USE THE CARGO SYSTEM FOR ALL LARGE, HEAVY OR OTHER ITEMS DESIRED BUT NOT NECESSARY OR REQUIRED FOR YOUR TRAVEL.


All cargo will be incorporated into and sent through the U.S. system, after arrival in Christchurch. Every effort will be made to see that cargo is shipped either before you arrive on the ice or is transported with you. Ideally, cargo will arrive on the ice one week prior to the arrival of the Science Team. All cargo must be clearly marked/designated with the U.S. Science event number G-091-M. Do not pack items in cargo that are needed immediately upon arrival, as cargo may not be readily accessible.

Please Note: No Science Team participant shipping scientific equipment as cargo to McMurdo will be allowed to depart for the ice until it is received on-ice or actually loaded onto your departing plane and arrives with you.

All participants are asked to provide the SMO with a list of cargo items that you plan to ship (unaccompanied) to Antarctica, including (1) all scientific equipment (2) boxes or containers containing reference materials or supplies, and (3) any personal items you wish to ship. (You may have already provided much of this information when submitting SIPs (Support Information Packages) to the SMO). Cargo lists should also include: item name, weight, dimensions, any special shipping instructions, anticipated shipping date from point of origin and expected arrival date(s) in Christchurch, as well as any tracking information.

All U.S. participants will prepare their own cargo and ship to Port Hueneme, California, where it is entered into the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) cargo system for transport south. All U.S. cargo must be received in Port Hueneme by August 25th for shipping by commercial surface (COMSUR). If unable to meet this deadline (e.g. because equipment is needed for use in your home institution), you can ship by commercial airline (COMAIR), but this requires NSF approval. U.S. participants are strongly encouraged to use COMSUR where possible.

All international participants will work with their appropriate national agencies or within established procedures to prepare and ship cargo. German cargo will be shipped through the AWI system to Antarctica New Zealand in Christchurch, and fed into the USAP/RSPC system. German participants should contact Frank Niessen at AWI for instruction and preparation of cargo. Italian participants should contact Fabio Florindo at INGV and New Zealand participants should contact Tim Naish, respectively for specific instruction and preparation of Italian or New Zealand cargo.

Again, once cargo is received in Christchurch, it will then be directed into the U.S. cargo system. Please contact the SMO for questions or further instruction.

Please be sure to indicate if you plan to ship any hazardous cargo. Hazardous cargo includes: Benezene, Chloroform, Ethanol, Formaldehyde, Hydochloric acid, Magnesium, Perchlorate, Menthanol, Nitric acid and Sulfuric acid, among others. If there are any questions, contact the SMO.


All carry-on baggage (personal and scientific) needs to be clearly identified with your name and the science event number (U.S. Science event number G-091-M). Additionally, if you are hand-carrying equipment, you will need to complete the customs form located in Appendix E (all participants (or grantees as indicated) will want to check box 3 "I am a Scientist/Grantee operating under S-event number _____" (Again, use event number G-091-M). Please be sure to provide the SMO with a list of scientific equipment and materials you plan to carry with you (e.g. microscope, laptop computer, or other instrumentation). For flights heading to McMurdo, your carry-on luggage must include ECW gear (refer to Section 3.7.11 and Appendix I below for more information), and may contain other small personal items. Carry-on items cannot include sharp objects or flammables (matches, lighters, etc.). These objects should be placed in your checked baggage; knives must be declared and given to flight personnel for secure storage. Items will be returned to you upon destination arrival. Remember, each traveler is limited to 75 lbs of checked luggage, plus a carry-on for flights heading to the ice. Excess baggage is available, if needed (please send requests to the SMO). Once at McMurdo, checked luggage will not be available for at least 2 to 4 hours after arrival to the ice.

3.7.3 Passports and Visas

A valid passport is required for travel through Christchurch and into Antarctica. Passports must not expire while in Antarctica or during your travels back home. Be sure to check passport expiration dates, because passports cannot be renewed or extended while on the ice. Passports should be valid at least 6 months beyond your stay (or at least 1 month beyond your stay if your country has consular representation in New Zealand, and is able to issue a new passport). If you require a Visa, you should obtain as directed and through your governing nation's guidelines/procedures.

3.7.4 Visitor's Permits

A Visitor's Permit is required for all holders of U.S., German and Italian passports in New Zealand. You will be issued a Visitor's Permit upon entry into New Zealand; for many that will occur upon arrival at the Auckland airport, when clearing NZ Immigrations. The total time spent in both New Zealand and Antarctica is recorded by the New Zealand Immigration as time spent in New Zealand. It is possible that your NZ Visitor Permit will expire while on the ice or en route back to New Zealand. All Science Team Member passport numbers will be monitored (via the SMO database), and those members whose Permits expire will be extended by the McMurdo travel office (RSPC) in consultation with the SMO.

3.7.5 Medical and Dental of Physical Qualification (PQ) Process

Medical and dental clearance for all participants is required. The Physical Qualification (PQ) process applies to all U.S. grantees (ANDRILL's U.S. participants) and guests of the National Science Foundation (NSF) (ANDRILL's International participants). All U.S. medical and dental qualifying procedures will be managed by RSPC. When submitting information to the SMO, you will be asked to provide your age in order to assist in identifying the appropriate medical examination requirements. U.S. participants will be contacted by RSPC with further information and instruction.

Members of non-U.S. Antarctic Programs should be cleared through their respective nation's medical program(s), and must provide NSF/RPSC their country's/program's clearance documentation, as well as provide a copy of their medical records to the medical clinic/facility located at McMurdo. See discussion below for further information.

U.S. Science Team Members will be sent medical forms from RSPC. Successful completion of medical and dental exams will result in issuance of tickets. Participants from Germany, Italy and New Zealand must be cleared through their appropriate agencies (please contact your National Representative --Frank Niessen, Germany; Fabio Florindo, Italy; Tim Naish, New Zealand-- for further information/instruction). RPSC require that international participants either fax or mail letters of medical/dental clearance to its attention at least 8 weeks prior to expected deployment to Christchurch (in some cases, acceptance up to four weeks is allowed, please contact the SMO). Letters or reports must be from his or her National Program Office. It must be on official letterhead, translated into English, and signed by the appropriate individual responsible for clearing participants in that Program. In addition, all international participants also must bring copies of their medical records with them. These records should be in a sealed envelope with First and Last name clearly written on the front. All medical records will be collected by the ANDRILL SMO's Staff Scientist or Research Support Coordinator, and turned over to the McMurdo Hospital staff during your stay on the ice. All records become the property of NSF and will not be returned. All medical information gathered from you by NSF or its contractor is maintained in accordance with the U.S. Privacy Act of 1974 (U.S. Public Law 93-579).

All participants are required to have had a tetanus immunization current within the last 10 years; and the following immunizations are recommended to minimize the spread of illness in the communal living areas around McMurdo:

  • Influenza vaccine for the current season;
  • Pneumovax for participants who are 64 years of age or older, or who have special medical conditions. Please consult your physician regarding this immunization.

If you are planning to travel after leaving the ice and/or New Zealand and immunizations or medicines are required for this travel, you will need to purchase them before leaving home and bring them to the McMurdo clinic upon arrival. The immunization(s) will be administered to you by McMurdo Clinic staff at the end of the season and prior to your departure from the ice.

In addition, if you are taking any prescription medications or health supplements regularly, be sure to bring these items (at least a three months' supply) with you. Be sure you have enough prescription medications to last the length of your stay, including travel time. It is the responsibility of all participants to obtain a supply of their regular prescription medications to cover the time that they will be deployed. (RPSC may be able to assist U.S. participants in obtaining additional monthly prescription supplies, as needed. Please refer to the United States Antarctic Program Participant Guide, 2006-2008 Edition for further information. The USSAP Participant Guide can be downloaded from

New Zealand custom laws only allow three months of prescription medications and one month of controlled prescription medications to be hand carried through New Zealand. Therefore, if you will be deployed for a longer period of time, you must make arrangements for additional medication to be mailed to the McMurdo Station medical clinic through the Air Post Office (APO) mail system (The McMurdo health/medical clinic cannot refill prescription medications); and the medications will need to be in properly labeled pharmacy containers to be passed through the APO system. For further instruction, please see Appendix F: "Personal Prescription Medications". International participants should consult their health care providers for assistance with obtaining additional prescription supplies. In addition, remember that customs regulations require that prescription drugs be hand-carried (not packed in checked baggage) and that all labels be intact.

Some nonprescription pain relievers and cold medications are available for purchase at the McMurdo Station (Station) store. However, quantities and brands are unpredictable, and it is suggested that you bring your preferred pain relievers with you. Again, plan to bring a sufficient quantity; and if you re-pack in a container different from its original package retain the original label(s).

If you wear prescription glasses, be sure to bring an extra pair of glasses or an eye-glass repair kit with you.

Antarctica is extremely cold and dry. It is recommended that you regularly use hand lotion and lip balm to protect against dry or chapped skin. Again, purchases can be made at the Station store, but it's recommended that you also bring these items with you. While most MIS Science Team Members will not be out at the drill site or exposed to the weather or sun for prolonged periods of time, it is still suggested that you carry and use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater. Be sure that it provides both UVA and UVB coverage and that the product does not expire during your stay. Remember, it will be summer during your stay in McMurdo and the sun is out 24 hours a day; reflection off the snow and ice multiplies the potential for sunburn to exposed areas.

3.7.6 Duration of On-Ice Stay and Re-Deployment Home

All MIS on-ice Science Team Members are expected to be on the ice mid-October through December, 2006. It is expected that the MIS field season will be completed in 10 weeks; however, it is possible that drilling and science operations make take longer and some Science Team Members may be required to remain on the ice into January, 2007. Science Team Members will be notified by the MIS Co-Chief Scientists whether or not they are required to stay longer than anticipated.

Please be prepared to remain in Antarctica through the holiday season(s), with departures beginning in late December or early January. Pre-holiday departures will require permission by the Co-chief Scientists. The departure travel process will begin upon successful completion of all obligations to the MIS Project, as determined by the Co-Chief Scientists. All departure travel from Antarctica to Christchurch will be arranged through the ANDRILL Research Support Coordinator, after Co-Chief Scientist notification or endorsement. This rule will apply during the entire field season.

Specific re-deployment information and directions will be provided upon arrival to McMurdo during "grantee" orientation. In general, the RSPC travel office will ask you to provide information with regards to expected departure (to be determined by Co-chiefs or Staff Scientist); any leisure travel you may want booked on your way home (for U.S. participants only. RSPC's travel office can make bookings, but you'll be required to make payment as directed); and general return ticketing services from McMurdo to Christchurch and home destination. Travel arrangements will also include hotel reservations in Christchurch. All Science Team Members will be required to stay at least one night in Christchurch before heading home. The RSPC travel office will assist international participants in return ticketing from the ice to Christchurch and in securing hotel reservations for their stay while in Christchurch; however, return ticketing from Christchurch to home destinations need to be arranged through one's respective national funding agencies. Please contact the SMO if there are any questions.

3.7.7 Housing at McMurdo

On-Ice housing will be arranged through the SMO and provided by the U.S. Antarctic Program managed by RSPC. All MIS Science Team Members will be housed at McMurdo. Housing is dormitory-style and will require roommate pairings. You will be contacted by the SMO to arrange/match roommates. Every effort will be made to match you to your requested roommate(s), however, it is possible that you may be assigned to a room without preference to your selection. While every effort will be made to match persons with day shifts to persons with evening shifts, allowing for alternating use of rooms, it is more than likely that some day shift members will be roomed together given the overall Science Team numbers and expected division of shift duties. In addition, there is a slight chance that MIS team members may be paired with a roommate or roommates of another Science Event or an RSPC employee. Please see Appendix G for "Housing" instructions and form. All participants will be sent an appropriate housing form (or one similar to it) and asked to complete and return to either the SMO or RSPC. Sheets and linens, including pillows and blankets are supplied by the USAP. You may bring your own sheets (twin extra-long), pillows or blankets, but these items should be included with either your personal shipped cargo or checked-luggage (if a part of your checked-baggage, it counts towards your 75 lb weight limit). The USAP does not provide towels or washcloths, and it is recommended that you pack a towel and washcloth in your carry-on bag.

The electrical power outlets in New Zealand are 230 volts (50 hertz), and hotels may not have appropriate converters for U.S., Italian and German electrical appliances, so be sure to bring electrical converters or adapters as needed. Electrical power outlets in McMurdo use a 110-volt system and the Crary Lab can accommodate some 220 volt systems. While staying and working at McMurdo, you will use the U.S. electrical outlet system; and therefore, you should plan to bring appropriate converters and plug adapters.

3.7.8 Transportation Between Bases and Drill SIte

There will be a dedicated shuttle service between McMurdo, Scott Base and the MIS drill site for those Science Team members traveling out to the drill site; however, most Science Team Members will be working solely in the Crary Lab at McMurdo, which does not require use of shuttles.

3.7.9 Computers

Please let the SMO know if you plan to bring a laptop or desktop computer with you, and provide a basic description of your machine. Computer monitors are available through USAP, thus eliminating the need to ship your monitor with a desktop if so doing. Let the SMO know if you wish to request a USAP-supplied desktop system for your work/lab station.

All laptop computers brought to the ice are subject to inspection and will be screened in Christchurch prior to deployment to Antarctica for current anti-virus software and operating system patches. This screening process is scheduled upon arrival in Christchurch, and usually occurs a day or two before your deployment. Information regarding screening activities will be provided in advance of your departure to Christchurch, either by RSPC or the SMO. Computer screenings may take anywhere from 2 hours to a full day. Technicians will gather appropriate information from your computer and make it available to all technicians performing the actual screenings. Computers that receive a "pass" rating in Christchurch may connect to the McMurdo Station network upon arrival. A "fail" rating indicates that the computer(s) will need to go through remediation activities upon arrival in McMurdo and before connecting to the Station's network. See Appendix H for more detailed information on inspection screening guidelines.

In addition, you will be sent an Information Security Acknowledgement form, which describes the rules that govern using McMurdo's computer network while at McMurdo, (located in Appendix H) from either RSPC or the SMO before your expected deployment. All MIS participants must sign and return computer forms provided by SMO or RSPC. More detailed computer guidelines and user information has been published in the Information Security Awareness User Information Booklet (22 pages) located at It is recommended that all participants familiarize themselves with this document.

Wireless access will be made available to Science Team Members in Crary Lab. Internet access is not readily available (if at all) in the dormitories or rooms.

3.7.10 Laboratory Equipment and Consumables and Science Construction

Science Team Members may be assigned a workspace in the Crary Lab based on your science needs. USAP will provide access to installed lab equipment and small science equipment where available and appropriate. If USAP is unable to provide the required equipment, the SMO will contact you to discuss options. USAP will also provide consumable items such as gloves, microscope slides, required chemicals, etc. Please provide the SMO with your expected consumable needs. If you do not ask for it before deployment to the ice, USAP may not be able to provide it upon arrival, so plan to ship or bring it with you. Some equipment may be available on a shared basis or for a limited period. The Staff Scientist is the MIS point of contact for all equipment and lab needs.

Will you require science construction support? For example, scientists conducting paleomagnetic studies may require non-magnetic (wooden tables). Or, do you require special crates to ship samples to your home institution? If so, you must let the SMO know as soon as possible.

3.7.11 Permits

The New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) require permits to transship and import samples through and into New Zealand. Due to the large volume of permit requests and processing limitations, MAF permits should be in place prior to deployment. On-ice applications will be limited to emergency situations. All Science Team Members importing samples into New Zealand will also need a "permit to Import Laboratory" specimens from their home institution or any institution that expects to receive MIS samples. Please contact your institution or institutions for instructions and applicable forms.

The MAF permit requirements apply to ALL samples that are shipped by air or hand-carried by an individual. It is important to specify whether the samples will be unaccompanied or accompanied. Any samples shipped north on the re-supply vessel do not require MAF permits. The SMO can assist you in applying for MAF permits, as needed, please contact Richard Levy for further information.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has regulations governing the importation of organisms and samples into the United States. It is the responsibility of all U.S. Science Team Members to determine if a USDA permit is required for their expected samples. U.S. Science Team Members will need this permit to bring samples into the U.S., whether shipped by air or hand-carried. (Complete V.S. Form 16-3 or 16-7) USDA permits can be held by an individual or by an institution. If you will be air shipping or hand-carrying samples, check with your home institution first to see if a permit is in place. If not, see for information. Permits can take up to 16 weeks to process. U.S. Science Team Members can also apply on-line at

As with the MAF permit, the USDA permit is not required for samples that are shipped north on the re-supply vessel.

If you will be importing samples into a country other than New Zealand or the United States, it is your responsibility to obtain the appropriate instructions and permits.

3.7.12 Clothing- including ECW (Extreme Cold Weather gear)

All ECW clothing should be issued through your respective nation's Antarctic Program (Italy and New Zealand) or AWI for Germany. A list of clothing required and assigned by the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) is provided in Appendix I. Please note that you will be expected to wear or carry with you on every flight to and from Antarctica the items listed. International participants are expected to be outfitted with clothing appropriate to your Nation's program and comparable to U.S. issued gear. Please let the SMO know if you have any concerns, or if non-U.S. scientists will require outfitting from the U.S. Program. All U.S. Scientists will be given required clothing before departure to the ice. Science Team Members are required to wear ECW gear while in transport to and from the ice. For U.S. participants ECW typically weighs approx. 30 lbs. In addition, whatever ECW gear that is not worn must be included in your carry-on bag, for U.S. members this is an additional 10 lbs. of clothing.

Proper clothing fit and functionality are important. For maximum protection, check each individual item to ensure correct fit, that the zippers or enclosures work, and that quantities are correct. You are responsible for maintenance and return of all issued clothing. Some issued clothing, particularly USAP issued-parkas or items of interest from other national programs, are subject to theft. Please take care to prevent loss. Many will experience weight gain (which is common) while in Antarctica, so select clothing that fits loosely and can accommodate weight gains (or losses) without compromising functionality and protection.

Sunglasses or goggles are critical. Your ECW may include ski-type UV protective goggles. It is strongly suggested that you bring 2 pair of sunglasses. Make sure they provide 100% UV protection, and the frames are plastic, not metal. Consider wrap-around temples or side shields to protect from harsh sunlight and reflections off the snow that may seep around your polarized lenses. Again, while most of the ANDRILL Science Team Members will be stationed at McMurdo, and are expected to have limited or periodic exposure to the sun and ice/snow, eye protection is still an absolute must. If you wear prescription glasses, then you should bring prescription sunglasses.

While stationed at McMurdo, casual cold weather clothing or attire is appropriate and choices are up to you. Bring your own indoor clothing, including light sweaters or heavy sweatshirts; fleece, wool or down items; underwear; socks; shirts and pants (jeans). Washable clothing is highly recommended. Laundry facilities are available for use in the dormitories. Dry cleaning is not available. Base the quantity of clothing you pack on its overall weight, your expected duration of stay, and the type of work you will be performing. The temperature both inside buildings and outside will vary dramatically. The best way to mange such changes is to layer your clothing. Therefore you should aim to pack items that can accommodate this and allow you to shed or layer quickly and easily. Several thin layers are more effective than one bulky layer.

Additionally, McMurdo has a recreational building with gym equipment. You may also want to include appropriate work-out gear, including running shoes, and a swimsuit. While there is not a pool, there are several saunas available throughout the McMurdo dorms.

Semi-formal attire (a coat and tie or skirt/dress) is suggested if you plan to attend formal functions or holiday parties/evening meals on the ice. Given the proposed drilling schedule, ANDRILL Science Team Members will most likely be on the ice /residing at McMurdo for both the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Such clothing is not a requirement in order to participate in these functions, although most people will be dressed semi-formal.

Note: Secured storage is available for items you will not need while in Antarctica (clothing not being taken to the ice, other travel baggage or luggage not needed, etc.). This will be coordinated through the SMO and Raytheon Polar Services in Christchurch.

3.7.13 Miscellaneous Personal Matters

It can be difficult to handle financial or other personal affairs from Antarctica. Before you leave to Antarctica, take care of any personal affairs and designate someone who can respond to personal matters on your behalf as they may arise. You will have access to internet and telephone, however, use of both may be restricted to a limited number of users at any given time. In addition, because telephone and internet service is provided by satellite, outrages can and do happen, and may range from a few hours to several days.

Mail: Do not forward your mail to Antarctica during your stay. Mail delivery to Antarctica is not always reliable or timely. Do not rely on mail service for critical business. While mail services are provided, the timing of delivery is always subject to weather, transportation options, and cargo space.

U.S. postal services are available at McMurdo and U.S. domestic postal rates and regulations apply to all APO mail to New Zealand, McMurdo and off the ice. While postage stamps are available at the Station store and the postal office at McMurdo, it is recommended that participants bring a supply of stamps with them.

Mail is received in Christchurch, New Zealand, seven days a week. Letter mail is transported to/from Christchurch to Antarctica on all available southbound flights. Letter mail service varies, generally taking 5 to 14 days, and sometimes longer depending on the time of year. Letter mail always takes priority over package mail both to and from Antarctica. Packages have the lowest priority of all cargo being transported to Antarctica resulting in delivery time of up to 6 weeks. Perishable food and items should not be sent. Packages destined for MIS Science Team Members at McMurdo during the drill season should be mailed after Labor Day (Monday, September 4, 2006) or they will be returned. Mail that misses the intended recipient will either be forwarded (if a directory card has been given to the McMurdo post office, please see the post office at McMurdo for further instruction), or returned to the sender. If sending or receiving a package to the ice, do not use "packing peanuts" or other Styrofoam packing materials. Instead, please use clothing or something similarly useful and non-polluting to cushion objects being mailed.

The Postal Service prosecutes people who mail items improperly. The following items should not be mailed: chemicals, explosives or other flammable materials; biological materials; liquor; odor-producing materials; sharp instruments; drugs; or articles for resale (note: sharp instruments (i.e. needles) related to prescribed medical use and prescription medications can be mailed, if arrangements have been made with the McMurdo medical clinic and proper documentation/containers are included/used). The Postal Service states: "Full responsibility rests with the mailer for any violation of law under Title 18, United States Code 1716, which may result from placing these items in the mail." Remember, all mail going to McMurdo is subject to customs, agricultural and drug inspections as it passes through Christchurch. For a complete listing of prohibited/restricted items, go to the USPS (United States Postal Services) website: and search for Publication 52, Acceptance of Hazardous, Restricted or Perishable Matter.

Your address while in McMurdo will be:

[Your Name]
McMurdo Station
Project G-091-M
PSC 469 Box 800
APO AP 96599-1035 U.S.A.

Banking: Make sure that your ATM and credit cards do not expire while you are away from home. International credit cards are generally accepted, although American Express is not widely accepted in New Zealand and is not accepted in McMurdo. You will probably need between $500 and $1,500 for a round trip between your respective nation and Antarctica. Of course this amount will vary depending on personal spending habits, length of stay, and any travel delays. Banks in New Zealand will exchange your nation's currency into New Zealand currency as needed. You can also withdraw funds from banks using your Visa and MasterCard credit cards or personal bank card, if set-up to do so. This usually requires a personal identification number (PIN) established by or with your financial banking institution. Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) marked with "Plus" or "Cirrus" will accept credit cards, ATM cards and debit cards. There are two ATM machines at McMurdo, and credit cards (Visa/MasterCard) are accepted in the Station store.

Insurance: Make sure you have adequate health and life insurance for your stay in Antarctica. Check with your employer or a financial consultant to learn what insurance you do have and to decide if it is adequate for your needs. In the event of a health emergency, you will receive free medical care at the McMurdo Station Clinic, but if necessary and possible, you may be evacuated from the ice and hospitalized at a foreign or U.S. hospital. Thus, you will be responsible for costs of off-ice hospitalization, medical care, lab fees, and any additional costs. It's strongly suggested that before you leave home that you examine your health coverage and consider purchasing additional coverage (as needed), or are aware of what agreements your country may have with the U.S. or New Zealand in the event of a health-related emergency and provided care. With regards to life insurance, keep in mind that Antarctic flights are generally considered non-scheduled military airplane operations, and are not covered by most insurance policies. Check with your institution to see whether its group policies for employees provide coverage or exceptions for travel and work in remote regions.

Station Store: The McMurdo Station Store is open during limited hours during the week and provides a selection of postcard/gift items; clothing; personal items (shampoo/soaps, laundry detergents, etc.); candy/snacks; and beer/wine/spirits for sale. Cash (U.S.) or credit cards are accepted for purchases. Please note some items, such as alcohol, may be limited for purchase depending on supplies on-hand or available during the season. The Station Store is located in Building 151.

Emergency Contact: In case of an emergency, your family can get a message to you in Antarctica by calling RPSC headquarters in Denver, Colorado (+1. 303.790.8606). Ask for the Human Resources Department and explain that this is an emergency. RSPC will contact the appropriate individuals at McMurdo to locate and assist you in receiving the information and arranging for your departure from the ice, if necessary.