When you become ''completely lost'' during a flight over
the Antarctic, the natural reaction for passengers might be to
But when the compass started spinning on a recent Qantas
Boeing 747-300 flight over the icy continent, former John
McGlashan College pupil Hamish McMillan said there was a buzz
among the 300 passengers.
The 18-year-old was one of four New Zealand pupils who won a
flight over the Antarctic after competing in the Royal
Society of New Zealand Realise the Dream competition.
''It took us four hours to fly down to Antarctica, but the
plane was set abuzz before we even reached the sea ice around
the continent, as we flew over the magnetic south pole and we
watched our compass wander, completely lost.
''The excitement built and the atmosphere on the plane was
electric as we dropped to the viewing altitude of
approximately 3050m and got our first view of the sea ice and
coast of Antarctica.
''[The Antarctic] really is the world's last great
wilderness, with nothing but ice with the odd cliff and
crevasse fields as far as the eye could see.
''From the plane, the scale of the place becomes apparent, as
we only saw a tiny corner of Antarctica and it was
He described the flight as ''the trip of a lifetime - a
scenic flight over the world's last great wilderness,
Mr McMillan won the trip when his project on the measurement
of a gene in 126 bees from feral hives and 114 bees from
managed hives was selected for the national final of the
Royal Society of New Zealand Realise the Dream competition
He is studying at the University of Otago and wants to forge
a career in medical research.