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