Sara Ramos, 21 Fevereiro 2018, Ilha Livigston
Fourth week down here couldn’t be better. Last Thursday 15th Feb we said bye to our bulgarian fellows and moved to the neighbour Spanish base Juan Carlos I, located about 20min by zodiac from our previous cosy bulgarian camp. Here we are lucky to be staying in brand new building, that was recently refurbished. Nowadays this place seems quite different than it used to be and now up to 50 people can sleep, eat, work and chill mainly in the same big building. The confort here is guaranteed and some refer this place as the “Antarctic Hotel”.
This week we had time to finish all the tasks scheduled on our plan and still had such a nice experiences exploring the area around.
First works on field consisted in flying a Phantom drone over the area covering the base in order to create cartography and digitl elevation models using the aerial photographies.
As soon as the weather conditions were good enough, we finally managed to go to “Glaciar Rocoso”, an infrequent rock glacier here which movements towards the coast needs to be annually monitored in order to figure out the progressive terrain deformations. There, we annually measure the GPS position of different sticks stacked in the rocky ground. These sticks work as reference points that allow calculating the progression of the glacier through time.
Sundays in the Spanish base are free days, so last sunny Sunday we made the most of the time exploring the glacier over the Jonshons’s Bay with the support of Mike and David, the expert “mountaineers” in the area. Walking here is risky as the massive accumulation of ice ends up in the cracking of the whole freeze structure generating crevasses that go from few centimetres to several meters thick and their deepness increase when approximating to the sea. To avoid falling in these dangerous crevasses, the use of crampons and walking in teams secured by ropes is a must.
The sight one’s sees from the inside of a glacier was something non-expectable for me at all, something alike a scarped and freeze dessert. However, I consider this as one of my best experiences in the mountain so far.
Finally, to put the icing on the cake, we were fortunate presence the most magnificent sun eclipses I’ve ever seen in the right moment and from the right place, as this eclipse was just blurry from the North Hemisphere but clearly viewed from the Antarctic Peninsula.
Today is Wednesday 21st and our time with the Spaniards is over. Tomorrow we are expecting to get on board of “The Hespérides” once more to leave the island and head Cierva Cove, in the Antarctic continent, where the Argentinians will host us in their beautiful “Primavera Base”.
Sara Ramos, Ilha Antártica de Livingston, 15 Fevereiro 2018
We are in the second week in this remote place and the weather is not blessing us with the best conditions. Cold winds, stormy snowfall and heavy rains are hitting the Island these days. We are living some of the hardest days working outside and many days we feel obligated to stay in the base processing data and doing some PC works. Despite of that, we are making the most of the better days to finish the most important works around.
At the beginning of the week, we came back to Reina Sofía Peak, this time accompanied by two of our base colleagues: Nuno and Lucy. Here we managed to fix some of the damaged equipment installed and we showed our colleagues a new territory for them in this Island.
At the end of the week, we are anxious to have a light windy day so we can test our last technology drone to fly over the area taking pictures that would be later used to create Digital Elevation Models. We find handling this drone more tendentious that we expected, as it needs to be perfectly programed in order to take in account many facts that could interfere in the performance of the flight. After several attempts, we managed to fly it for a couple of minutes, despite it was not a total successful flight due to different technical problems.
When the weather doesn’t make possible working outside, it is a good time for learning a bit more about our colleagues’ projects here, so this week we planned that every team prepares a presentation to explain its project to the rest.
This week, we lost one of the members of the team, as the time of Miguel here was schedule to finish at 9th of February, when he shipped himself on-board of “The Hesperides” heading back home. Despite of the odds we have managed to finish almost all the work around the Bulgarian Base and we are planning to move to the Spanish Base for the next week. From there, it will be easier to keep working in monitoring points located in farther away areas from here.
Meanwhile, spending our last days in here, we make the most of the free time helping our colleagues with their tasks, exploring the place riding the Ski-Doos or learning a bit more about the magnificent fauna that one can find out here.
Miguel RAMOS en navegación a bordo del BIO Hespérides por el mar de Drake a 10 de febrero de 2018.
El 31 de enero de 2018, viajamos el equipo de investigación, formado por Gabriel, Sara y Miguel, del aeropuerto de Punta Arenas con destino a la isla antártica de Rey Jorge en el vuelo fletado por el programa portugués de investigación polar PROPOLAR. El viaje fue cómodo y rápido, mucho mejor que la clásica travesía del pasaje Drake en buque, desde donde escribo esta entrada al final de mi etapa, breve pero intensa, de trabajo.
Me encuentro en el mar de Drake a borde del BIO Hespérides buque insignia de la investigación polar española, cuando sólo han pasado apenas 14 días de mi llegada a la base antártica Búlgara (BAB) (isla Livingston) con mis dos fantásticos compañeros de trabajo Sara y Gabriel con los que compartiría unos días de ciencia y convivencia con los otros equipos de investigación con los que nos encontramos en la BAB (isla Livingston).
La primera impresión al desembarcar fue que el deshielo este año había sido muy intenso, dejando parte del terrenos ganado por el glaciar en los últimos 10 a 12 años al descubierto, con la aparición de generadores y pequeñas estructuras que la inmensa lengua blanca de hielo había engullido, poco a poco, en su avance. La acogida por el jefe de la BAB, Jordan, y su equipo fue, como de habitual, tremendamente afectiva dándonos todo su apoyo para la realización de las actividades de investigación propuestas.
El trabajo lo realizamos de forma coordinada con Miro, joven ingeniero Búlgaro voluntario que nos procuraba el transporte del material pesado en una de las motos de nieve y además tomaba una excelentes fotografías con su equipo profesional.
Comenzamos por la calibración de los instrumentos de medida de temperaturas, este año formados por unas novedosas cadenas con conexión inalámbrica que nos permitirán en el futuro, durante al menos tres años, volcar los datos sin extraer las sondas y por lo tanto sin interrumpir el régimen térmico establecido en el suelo.
Con los instrumentos calibrados, realizamos la reposición de los sensores en las perforaciones, estaciones meteorológicas y nivométricas situadas en diferentes altitudes y orientaciones que conforman parte de las estaciones de medida asociadas a los protocolos internacionales CALM y TSP.
Otra de las actividades consistió en la medida de la posición de los puntos de control en diferentes experiencias de movimiento de laderas por procesos de solifluxión mediante GPS diferencial.
La visita a las estaciones posicionadas en las zonas más elevadas de la zona Monte reina Sofía, donde se sitúan los sondeos más profundos, entre 15 y 25 metros, en las proximidades de la Base Antártica Española (BAE), con una visita breve a sus nuevas instalaciones, dieron por concluido mi trabajo.
Sara y Gabriel continúan desarrollando el proyecto enfocado al estudio térmico del permafrost, y dirigido por el profesor Gonzalo Vieira, con una breve estancia en la BAE y su posterior traslado a la Base Argentina Primavera, situada en la península antártica en bahía Cierva, hasta principios de marzo, buena continuación de campaña para ellos, magnifico final para mí.
Un abrazo Antártico para todos los compañeros que hemos encontrado por el camino y que han colaborado para que nuestro proyecto colaborativo entre Portugal y España continúe con éxito. Así como a las instituciones Portuguesas y Españolas como PROPOLAR y programa polar Español que han financiado y apoyado esta actividad.
Sara Ramos, Baía Sur, Ilha Livingston, 8 Fevereiro 2018
It’s Friday 2nd February 2018 and we are getting our equipment ready to go ahead with our first day of work on field. The purpose for this week is to walk up to the different permafrost and climate monitoring points that are already set up around Hurd Peninsula to do the maintenance of the equipment and renew the sensors of temperature inside the permafrost boreholes.
This way, we will set up a new technology of sensors that can be read in sutu by wifi connexion to a computer, so this will save us the time of opening the installation to download the data logs sensor by sensor. In this new technology, the sensors need to be calibrated before installed in the boreholes, so we devoted a bit of time to this issue. We introduced the sensors in an ice and water bath in thermal equilibrium to 0°C, so after a couple of hours, we had enough measurements to calibrate the sensors, correcting its measurement error to 0°C.
Once the equipment is ready, we suit on our snow rackets and start walking uphill to reach the monitoring points. First stop is the meteorological station, right behind the base, followed by the monitoring sites located further away in the Slope Ohridski and Papagal sites. Here we download the data and renew the sensors of the different measurement devices: snow stacks, permafrost monitoring boreholes, air temperature sensors, ground surface temperature sensors, cameras, etc.
By the middle of the week, we decide to go by zodiac to the other side of Johnson’s Bay, where our neighbour, the Spanish base “Juan Carlos I”, is located. From there, we are closer to reach the “Reina Sofia Peak”, where there are few more monitoring sites. Here, we find that the mast of one of the measurement stations has bended because of the strong winter winds and is currently fully covered by snow. The efforts to recover this monitoring site, along with the difficult meteorological conditions, makes this one of the hardest days working outdoors. In this first visit to Reina Sofía sites, we found few problems with the equipment related with batteries and software configuration that makes necessary to come back again to this place.
Despite the odds, the best part of visit to Reina Sofia is having the opportunity to enjoy a hot grain coffee in the Spanish base, where Joan, the base commander, kindly received and showed us the new buildings after a recent refurbishment of this base.
I must admit that this week I feel so lucky to work in such a special environment and with this team, as we are always having fun. Moreover, staying in the Bulgarian base is being a pleasure; this guys always make as much as they can helping us with the day a day logistics and host us as three more members of the big family.
Sara Ramos, Baía Sul, Ilha Livingston, 1 de Fevereiro de 2018
Hi, I am Sara Ramos, master student in GIS (Geographic Information System) in the University of Lisbon and I am living my “once in a lifetime” experience in Antarctica.
This year, me and my two colleagues Gabriel Goyanes and Miguel Ramos are travelling around few points of the Antarctic Peninsula to complete this 2017/18 campaign’s tasks of the ongoing project PERMANTAR supported by the Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning (University of Lisbon).
Just a few words to explain what this PERMANTAR project is about. The project aims at increasing the understanding of the reaction to climate changes of the ice-free terrestrial environments of Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) and their linkages to permafrost to evaluate the consequences in this kind of ecosystems. For this issue, monitoring and modelling are essential.
Our primarily goal in this expedition is to maintain and upgrade the monitoring observatories of permafrost and other climate parameters spread in different spots along the WAP, from Livingston Island to Cierva Cove. Moreover, we will carry out the monitoring and mapping of the Hurd rock glacier in Livingston and a new study on active layer and permafrost dynamics in Cierva Cove.
To begin, I cannot tell any story about this trip without describing the excitement of reaching the South Pole’s continent first.
It’s finally Saturday 27th January and we can’t be more excited to start our next expedition in Antarctica. After a long overnight flight from Madrid to Santiago de Chile, we boarded in our second plane to Punta Arenas, one of the key spots for Magellan and his trope when in 1920 the commander found his way through the strait and connected both Pacific and Atlantic oceans for the first time.
On Tuesday 31st Jan, we and a bunch of other researches from all over the world (Spain, Portugal, Bulgary, Turkey, China…), would fly over the Drake’s Passage on board of “The Antarctic” from Punta Arenas, until stepping in King George Island, our very first Antarctic land.
From King George, Spanish ship “The Hespérides” was waiting to pick us and give us a 12h ride to the Bulgarian Base, in Livingston Island, where we would spend around twenty days working on field.
It is 11am of the first day of February 2018 and we are leaving our first footprints in the almost virgin snow that covers the path going from the beach, where the zodiac has just dropped us, to the St. Kliment Ohridski Bulgarian Base. Two of the four board members of this small base, Jordan and Danco, are waiting to give us, as well as other Bulgarian colleagues, a warming welcome to the cold land with a hot chicken soup ready in the table.
It is an uncommon sunny day in here and our first impression of the place is a small and humble base surrounded by melting snow that makes us remind a cosy mountain refugee.
Once settled up in this place, is time to make the most of the sunny afternoon by going for a long walk along the coast that connects our base with the massive Perunika Glaciers at the end of the Hurd Peninsula.
While walking by the sea, the raw climate, the animals that one sees, the temperature, the lights, all the elements are delighting us and soon I cannot avoid falling in love with this piece of land.
DIÁRIOS DA CAMPANHA