November 22, 2006 Vinson Team On-Hold in Punta Arenas
It’s Wednesday November 22nd, the day before Thanksgiving in the United States and still perhaps the day Larry Crozier, Wayne Wilson and I will take off on a flight for Antarctica. We’ll be heading to Patriot Hills station at 81 degrees South, it’s 1800 nautical miles from us here in Punta Arenas, Chile. If you follow Berg Adventures Vinson dispatches in past years you will know that this flight is a big deal, it’s very exciting and everything has to be right.
There is a big Ilyushin 76 jet fueled with 60 tons of fuel sitting out on the runway at the Punta airport right now. The crew is waiting for news from Jaco our meteorologist at Patriot Hills station, he’s updating them regularly. There has been gusty winds and very unpredictable conditions down at the Blue Ice runway. So we’ve been on hold here for a couple of days. Once again if you follow our dispatches in the past you will know that is not very long and as someone once said in flying conditions like this when the pilot says he’s not sure it’s time to go yet you just say ‘thank you’.
Punta Arenas is a great place to hang out. When we first got here the guys enjoyed the Statue of Magellan, of course we are on the Straits of Magellan named for perhaps the world history’s greatest explorer. We visited the Statue of Magellan and we did the tradition that a lot of explorers and adventurers have done in Punta Arenas for many decades. We kissed the foot of the native at the base of the image of Magellan on the statue for good luck and acknowledgment of the support that he had and that we all need to pursue our adventures.
We enjoy hanging out in this windy city with lovely blue skies and pretty weather right now. Very far away from the ice where we will be living soon. Our favorite place to hang out is the Shackleton Bar at a famous old hotel here. We sit around in big leather chairs and it seems that every guest at the Shackleton Bar, every person hanging out there had stories to tell about Magellan or Shackleton or Antarctic explorers in more recent times.
Adventure is in the air and we are ready to go but we are living day to day at a very enjoyable place here in Punta Arenas, Chile.