Icy Inverts 2004
Daily Journal of the R/V Laurence M. Gould
Nov. 19-23, 2004 --- Position (at Punta Arenas:) N053° 10.145’ W070° 54.415’
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24 hours of flight travel to our destination: Boston to Miami, Miami to Santiago, Chile, and Santiago to Punta Arenas (the natives say “Poon-ta-ray-nus”). Walking around Punta Arenas that first evening was a great relief after so much sitting!!


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Besides that, finding the ship was an important way point, as we had a science group briefing on board the R/V Laurence M. Gould the next morning, followed by some other routine but tightly scheduled responsibilities.

One major part of the readiness routine is the warehouse issuing of clothing for the Antarctic environment. We were each given a duffel bag of clothes including jackets, bib overalls, rain/foul weather gear, socks, gloves, flannel shirts, and even long underwear! We had to try everything on before leaving terrible to find your glacier jacket has a broken zipper!

It’s not all work and no play, however! After a morning of unpacking and setting up the labs, labeling all drawers and cabinets, and stowing the shipping boxes, we caught a private tour bus to the Otway Penguin Sanctuary, about 70 kilometers away. We walked through the nesting grounds of a colony of Magellanic Penguins, on a roped boardwalk. The penguins went about their business, occasionally ducking behind sandy beach grass mounds or going to their nests which are underground! This is a burrowing breed, and nests were as much as 200 yards from the beach, despite the long, waddley walk to get food and socialize with their neighbors at the ocean’s edge. We were able to stand behind a wooden ‘blind’ and watch the birds gathering on the beach and diving into the cold, briny surf.

The days are long down here (sun sets at about 10:30 p.m.), so there is plenty of time to get in several activities! We stopped at a shrine on the edge of Skyring Bay, one of the many fjords (waterways cut out by glaciers) that create the water-webbed lace-edged pattern of southern Chile, the tip of South America. The shrine itself is a shallow grotto in a rock wall behind a breathtaking 100-foot waterfall. It was lovely to stand at the shrine and look out through the cascading waters to the fjord beyond. Truly a ‘scenic vista’.

Our final destination on Sunday was a sheep and cattle ranch called ‘Estancia Rio Verde’, also on Skyring Bay. The ranch or ‘estancia’ is thousands of acres with a lovely ‘ponderosa’ style cluster of buildings at its center. In one of those, we congregated in a ‘great room’ where two large stone fireplaces blazed as they roasted up a delicious meal of homegrown lamb, beef and chicken. The feeling there was warm and welcoming, and it was a perfect gathering of soon-to-be shipmates becoming truly acquainted for the first time out of the travel- or work-mode. We were shown the shearing barns, where bale upon bale of tightly wrapped freshly-shorn wool was stacked, ready for market. We witnessed a glorious sunset across the pastures and out over Skyring Bay, with peaks of the majestic, snow-capped Andes in the far distant background. It was a magical day.

The setup of labs continued on Monday, with a PI (primary investigator) meeting, equipment shopping, and room assignments posting. We all unpacked, tried our email (!), and saw some semblance of the coming routines. Preparation for sea travel included thick wood cutout stands/braces being screwed into the lab tables, boxes being tied down and loose ‘missiles’ stowed. This was the last day of “liberty”, and most of us went off the ship for dinners of local seafood (large loads of king crab on the dock every day!) before returning for our first night in our shipboard bunks.



Day of Departure was lots of work mixed in with some hurry-up-and-wait. The actual time we left the dock was delayed two hours from the original plan, but that’s a story for tomorrow….

Dinner Menu (shipboard, 11/22):



French fries

mashed potato


spice cake