We spent today preparing equipment and obtaining our cold weather gear.
For most of us, today was our first full day in Punta Arenas. We flew down yesterday through Dallas and Santiago, Chile. Our trip south from Santiago was spectacular, with views of glaciers and the Andes as we made our way down the coast of Chile. Punta Arenas is literally at the end of the world and it is from here that we will sail for Antarctica.
We spent today collecting our cold weather gear (parkas, boots, hats, gloves, goggles, etc.) and working on equipment aboard the Research Vessel L.M Gould, our home for the next two months. Everyone aboard the ship was wonderful – helpful and welcoming; there was nothing they could not provide, fabricate or conjure up for us. It’s a great relief that we will be working with such an exceptional group of people for the next eight weeks.
So far, so good – all of our equipment is in good order and spirits are very high. We saw two species of marine mammals from the dock today – a South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens) foraging near the wharf and a group of Peale’s dolphins (Lagenorhynchus australis) cavorting a little further offshore. Our ship is tied up amongst crab boats unloading centolla and across from a longline vessel that fishes for Patagonian toothfish. Lots of interesting things going on around us.
Tomorrow we will complete our preparations, load our personal gear and get ready to depart on Tuesday morning. Stay tuned for more updates!