Yesterday morning we pulled up to dock in Punta Arenas, Chile in the rain. All of the gear was offloaded with amazing efficiency. We carried all of the many plastic shipping crates out onto the deck onto cargo nets, and then the crane picked them up and put them on a truck, which then carried them up to the warehouse, where they will then be shipped out to Rhode Island. Once everything to ship north had gotten to the warehouse, and the labs had been cleaned, us scientists had just about run out of work to do.
Many of us scientists headed out to town. It was great to walk further than 300 feet in a given direction! But we didn’t get far before running into more scientists. The LM Gould, the other US Antarctic Program research vessel, was also at the dock, getting ready to leave for their annual long term survey cruise. So when walked down the dock, we ran straight into onto of the scientists leading that cruise! Hugs and catching up all around. It was really nice to run into friends and colleagues from across the US, here in a small town at the end of the populated world. Antarctic research is a really great group of people, and it is great being part of it.
In town, we were busy picking up souvenirs for friends and family back in the Northern Hemisphere. We also stopped by the main square to thank the statue of Magellan for his help in two smooth passage crossings.
In the evening, we all went out for one last dinner together. It was a wonderful evening of talking about science, life, and everything, with much laughter and some not particularly coordinated tango dancing.
We want to thank all of our blog readers for following our adventures! Posts will probably be sporadic from now on, but I’ll be sure to update you on the progress of our analysis, and any papers or presentations. I’ll also try to add a bunch more photos and videos once we get back to the US and full internet.