Friday, 23 September 2016 17:30

I am in King George Island

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 On King George Island, off the tip of the Antarctic penninsula and south of South America. The moss and lichens are great and there is lots of snow.  There are 3 Chilean Bases (army, navy and science!, I'm at the Science one, it is small and sweet.

The Navy boys have a nice big zodiac and the commandante lent it to us today to go mossing so we rocked up to an amazing moss, lichen and Deschampsia bed beside Collins Glacier and spent 3 hours mossing whilst navy boys hung about waiting for us, they have full yellow mustang suits and play about in the water most of the time, looks cold but I guess it isn't or they are super macho or something.   Then we got back and everyone rushed off to meet Metallica at the army airstrip.  They got a lift down in a Hagg and got taken off to the tourist ship in the Bay. Apparently they are doing a concert at the Argentine base around the corner on Sunday but I don't think we are invited.  It's over the other side of the glacier so we would need a boat to crash the party.  SMH link



Drake passage was like being in a washing machine for 2 days but on the way we went past Ushaia and got off at Puerto Williams and went to a nature park to check out edible parasitic mushrooms (Citaria arioti) in a northfagus forest, beautiful.  Apparently the Drake was so wobbly that the Navy commandante took us to Prat Station first so I have now seen Livingston, Deception and Greenwich islands too. Got off at Prat and had hot chocolate and cakes (almost as good as Monday lab meeting) The base was old and small.   Then ship had to wait whilst the commandante went to the changeover dinner at Prat, obviously a big night because we didn't leave until about 6am.  

Escudero is dry but the ship had a bar and plenty of Pisco sours.  There is no field training here you just tell the Chief where you are going take a radio and off you go, so we went out straight away as soon as we arrived.  Plus I met a toddler called Fernandez on the beach yesterday, he was very cute.  This is not a good vegan station, Chileans seem to eat meat with rice or potatoes and no veggies.

In addition to metallica concert there are 2 surfers who are going to surf somewhere off the island, they are staying with the army.  They had about 6 zodiacs worth of baggage and it took forever to unload off the ship, each time we stopped on the way  they took the surf boards out!

As well as the 3 Chilean bases the Russians are next door literally and the Chinese are over the hill.  There are 2 churches Russian orthodox and catholic.  Across the bay we can see the Uraguyan and Korean bases. Hoping to visit the Russians before we leave for a sticky beak and also possible vodka!.  Apparently we could go to the Chinese base to use the -80 Freezer too.  I need more kioloa gifts!  If I get sick apparently we get 3 doctors a Chilean, Russian and Chinese for the operation but I will try not to test that..

Should be here till 11th then back on the Aquiles navy ship, through the washing machine to Punta Arenas.  So I might end up home early (wouldn't that be a surprise)



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Andrew Netherwood

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