Susan Roaf, 16th February , King George Island
Big day arrives: Off to Antarctica. Packing at the Glacier Union lodgings. Piles of baggage, mainly tent parts and equipment, but some woolly undies too! Will be allowed to take it all?
Punta Arenas airport and the PROPOLAR researchers meet up. We are the only ones going to Escudero – the Chilean base – the others are off to the Chinese or the South Korean bases, also on King George Island.
Raining hard as we fly out and we have the luxury of a plane all to ourselves.
A 2 hour flight and we begin to see the Icebergs and rocks of King George Island.
Then in light snow we land on the hard grey rocky airport and the teams separate to go to their respective bases and the Polar Lodge team head for Escudero.
A big shock comes to find out that Antarctica is covered in snow and ice! Duh!
We were welcomed by Cesar, Head of the base and were delighted to be able to present to him a gift from ORVEC, who made our tent materials. It was one of their brilliant evacuation pods for carrying injured people out of extremely cold environments to protect them from hypothermia. It is used now by the Finnish army, for instance, and Cesar was really pleased with it and we hope they don’t have to use it here in Antarctica.
Around 45 researchers, mainly Chilean, working on around eight different scientific research projects here. We learn lots about Antarctic sea fauna, corals, enzymes, microbes, glaciology, seaweeds, etc.
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