flying south for the winter

This is why geese and retired couples migrate south for the winter.  Good thing I’m heading south, too, though I may overshoot balmy Florida by a few miles…

TOMORROW I LEAVE FOR ANTARCTICA!

More than a year after my last blog post (let’s call it “busy” rather than “lazy”) I’m back on board with the Palmer LTER.  Assuming my flight isn’t snowed-in, I’ll fly tomorrow to Punta Arenas, Chile, get some standard-issue Antarctic gear, and hop aboard the ARSV Laurence Gould.  From there, we’ll churn out through the Strait of Magellan, then four days south through the world’s most notoriously tempestuous seas (think “Deadliest Catch” meets “Ice Road Truckers”), until we hit the Antarctic Peninsula for five weeks of research.

Chilly in Chile

…as if that pun has never been made before. Apologies.

Anyway, here I am! After nearly 30 hours of flights and layovers, I have made it to Punta Arenas, Chile.  At the Santiago airport, representatives from Raytheon (the company that oversees many US polar deployments) met our group and breezed us through customs.  I totally felt like a VIP celebrity … if celebrities ever arrive at airports wearing enormous backpacks and hiking boots.

Punta Arenas is, incidentally, home to the southernmost beer brewery and southernmost grapevines in the world.

Time for me to go to bed. Early tomorrow morning I will head to a giant warehouse overlooking the Strait of Magellan, where I will be issued my cold weather gear, and then move onto the LM Gould.

Jumping Ship

swimcall-005-2

With so much left to say about my time at sea, it’s hard to believe that I’ve been home for a month already, and that I’m leaving so soon for Antarctica.  I fly out on December 27th, and will arrive 26 hours later in Punta Arenas, Chile.  From there, it’s another four or five days by ship across the Drake Passage before I reach the Antarctic.

This time last year I was just beginning the first of my adventures, and I’m about to embark on my last–for a little while, anyway.  Thank you to all those who have shared these experiences with me.  Stay tuned for stories from the deep, deep, deep south…