Day 2: Choosing only the necessities for heading to the South Pole

Dr. Heather Ross
The team goes through their gear while in their hotel room in Punta Arenas.

Very, very early wake-up call (2 a.m. EST equivalent) and over to airport. Needless to say we were over our baggage limit!

Flight uneventful for some but Dr D did the doc thing for a sick passenger.
All the luggage arrived and Michel said 'I guess we have to do the trip' to which the response was F___!

After a 4-hour direct southern flight, we arrived in Punta Arenas, which, is farther south than James Bay is north. This is the height of summer. Given the challenging and unforgiving climate, summer is brief, but wow is it colourful. Trees are stunted in height and windswept in appearance. Small hills line the coast with homes built in the scrub. Grabbed a cab into town with a couple of guys doing a bike trip!

Hotel has a casino attached – a brand new place. Wasn't here the last time we were here six years ago. Overall, the town hasn't changed much.

We did a wander about the ghost town (!) – just us and a bunch of packs of wild dogs... and of course kissed Magellan's foot for travellers’ luck. New Year’s Day so everything is closed. Lunch at the hotel cafe.

Afternoon spent laying out gear for Commander Keith – he will decide what you do and do not get to bring. Some things like my fluffy slipper, blow dryer, hair gel and sweatpants (i.e. comfort clothes) – will be staying in Punta. And wow does he cut a swath through the gear – no to this, yes that's a must, 'what were you thinking,' 'what IS that?'

All in good humor and now gear thinned to fighting weight. It is starting to feel very real!

Dr. Heather Ross is travelling to the South Pole to raise awareness for heart disease.
Follow her Journey to the Bottom of the Earth exclusively on Yahoo! Canada.