Hello from 53 Degrees South – The Most Austral City in the World

Sunday, 1/9/2011, 16:00 Local

After three flights and 16 hours in the air I have arrived safely in Punta Arenas Chile. Before I left Maine I used the “Where is the Melville” link on the blog to locate the ship at the main dock in Punta Arenas. I don’t speak Spanish so I printed a Google map of my route from the airport to the ship to give to my cab driver. The cabbie looked at map, knew exactly where I wanted to go and headed southwest for the 20-minute drive to the “ship”. I knew something was wrong as we drove into town and saw the Melville lying ½ mile of the dock at anchor. As I pointed to the ship the cab driver laughed, and gestured that it was going to be a long swim.   Check out the video of the port by clicking on the image below:

Play this video

Fortunately, Chilean hospitality came to my rescue. The port agent called the ship’s agent who called the ship’s captain to arrange a boat ride to the ship. I don’t know how the world worked before cell phones? Twenty seven hours after leaving Boston I was on the Melville with all my luggage and chemical reagents for the cruise. This is the good news.

The bad news is that the eight shipping containers containing all of the Colby and Bigelow instruments were delayed in Santiago. The packages shipped via airfreight from Maine to Santiago with no problem. However, two of the pallets are heavy and the local airlines refused to fly our gear the last 2000 miles. As a last resort, the containers have been loaded in a truck and are slowly moving south over the mountains through Chile and Argentina to Punta Arenas. We hope to have our instruments on Tuesday, a few hours before the ship is scheduled to leave. The lesson learned is to always combine your shipments with those of the chief scientist (Barney). The ship is not leaving until all of our gear arrives.

As a technical note, we have email, but not web services on the ship at this time. This should be fixed soon, but until it is, I am posting to the blog via Jason at Colby ITS using email.

– Whitney

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