Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Arriving in Chile
30 Dec 2009 - After two years of preparation for our expedition to the Weddell Sea, we finally arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile, the jump-off point for most research cruises to west Antarctica. “We” are Laura Grange and Craig Smith, the University of Hawaii contingent for the LARISSA project, which includes 27 other scientists . The trip from Hawaii was arduous: we departed Honolulu at 8 am on Dec 27 and arrived in Punta Arenas at 10 pm on Dec 29 after 25 hours in the airline seats – yikes! The people of Punta Arenas are extremely friendly and all our baggage and gear arrived with us, so we are in good spirits. Today we were issued the clothing we will wear in Antarctica. Is called “Extreme Cold Weather” gear to keep us warm while “on the ice” (i.e., working in Antarctica). Because temperatures plus wind chill may drop to -40 F, our Antarctic attire is a bit different from our Hawaiian wardrobe: it includes a giant red down parka, multiple sets of thermal underwear and insulated socks, waterproof pants, windproof parka, balaklava (the head cover bank robbers wear, but in thick wool), a neck gator, 8 set so thermal gloves, 2 pairs of mittens, wind goggles, three sets of insulated boots, etc. Each person’s bag of ECW clothing weighs about 40 pounds and is a pain to lug onto the ship. Nonetheless, and we are VERY glad to have it.