Sara Ramos, Argentina, 11 March 2018
As any other, this story is about to get its final. On Sunday 4th March, we left Primavera on board of the Argentinian military ship “Canal Beagle”.
The best things I’ve learned from Primavera is to coexist in harmony with the different fauna one can find here, to live so close with so different people and of course, to dance Quarteto, the most typical Argentinian dance. The worse part of any journey is packing everything to come back. The logistics to close out the base were especially hard, as the place needed to be completely emptied and clean before being close for the winter. Therefore, we had to join the party of packing all the stuff used to work and survive during the whole the Argentinian campaign: hundreds of equipment, 3 months rubbish, tones of non-consumed food, boat engines, empty gas and oil barrels and so on.
Moreover, the pick-up work gets even harder when it comes to the Cierva Point environment. The icebergs, the slippery ground and the curious leopard seals poking around do not help in the boat charging process.
After leaving Primavera, we were supposed to stay in the “Canal Beagle” about 5 days until it will drop us in King George Island, where our flight was scheduled to leave Antarctica on 9th March. However, schedules in Antarctica are never definitive and dates and plans use to change in matter of hours due to weather conditions and logistic issues. As per usual, the flight was finally cancelled and it was delayed for 4 days, so we stayed on-board almost 10 days.
I confess I’ve learned few things about patience while staying at this ship. When you are on-board, you just can try to keep calm and find a creative way for spending the infinite time in a non-wifi place until the longed plane come to pick you up. Sometimes the situation gets a bit stressful as you must share your life in so tiny areas with another 160 people, so intimacy and lone moments are payed so expensive here.
However, not everything is that bad, at the end of the day you realize you have exponentially enriched your cinematic knowledge as you have watched more movies in these 10 days than previously in your life. In addition, you end up knowing much better your colleagues, as you have had long and extended conversations with them.
While our stay on the ship, we at least had the opportunity of step on land for few hours and visit Carlini, another Argentinian Antarctic base. People in here were so welcoming and I had the opportunity of try my first and last Argentinian “asado” in outdoors Antarctic style.
On March 12th, the Hercules Argentinian plane finally came to pick us up in King George Island and lift us to Rio Gallegos (Argentina). This “Lockheed C-130 Hercules” plane is the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. It consist in a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings making it a good option for supporting the scientific research in Antarctica.
Being inside of this plane while flying is such an experience. It feels like being a soldier in a typical 2nd world war movie. The safety is quite rudimentary, the seats are constitute by belt nets to optimize the space, the cabin is not soundproof so you’d better grab some headphones to stand the deafening continuous noise, finally, the minimal pressurization system makes you strongly feel your body depressing while lifting. Despite of this, flying in such an old school plane is something that I loved to experiment and I’ll keep it on my records.
Once landed in Rio Gallegos, everyone split to different destinations and then it becomes the saddest moment, the moment to say good-bye to all the amazing people with who I’ve been living during the past weeks. Despite we insist on this non being a good bye, but a see you soon, we know we are all people from different countries and is gonna be difficult to have the opportunity of meeting again.
After a night over in Rio Gallegos, I travel to Punta Arenas (Chile) from where I will take my flight back to Spain on March 18th. Here, I am currently spending some days getting used again to the city life, the crowd, the cars, the commerce and the money. I hope this help to carry out a progressive adaptation back to “the real world”.
DIÁRIOS DA CAMPANHA