We just crossed over 60 degrees South latitude, and are seeing ice for the first time! I don’t care how many times I come down here… sea ice never gets boring. It’s hypnotic, watching it rise and fall with the waves, listening to it scrape and slush against the ship’s hull. For now it’s just brash ice – the remaining chunks of broken-up pack ice and crumbled icebergs – but by this time tomorrow we’ll be well into berg territory. The weather right now: air is just above freezing, the water is just below freezing, and there’s so much fog I can barely see the stern of the ship when I’m standing on deck.
Here are a few strung-together clips of icebergs, humpback whales, penguins, and other views from the West Antarctic Peninsula. To see the video in better quality, press play and then select the “HQ” or “view in high quality” setting presented in the bottom right corner.
…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.