December 4 – High gusts continue at Patriot Hills

Listen to Audio of Wally's Call (.wav)

Wally Berg - Expedition LeaderIt’s just past 8pm local time in Punta Arenas Chile, on December 4th and I’m going to report to you that Gus Pope, Will Cross and myself, Wally Berg, are going to be in Punta Arenas one more night.

We’ve been on edge all day, ready to go. Actually I had a feeling it might happen today.

It’s hard to imagine if you’ve never done it what it’s like landing in a big aircraft on a blue ice runway in the interior of Antarctica but if you’ve ever done it you know what a serious call it is on the part of meteorologist Jacko down at Patriot Hills, the operations crew here at Punta Arenas and obviously the pilot and the rest of the crew of the aircraft to make the call to deploy and go down there.

We had gusts, high winds and gusts all day today. I got the first report from Mark up at the office after he talked on the radio to Jacko about 8 am this morning and it was 36 gusts and 47, later in the day it was 33 knots gusting 54 and this evening it looked a little better but Jacko had been down at the blue ice runway and reported that the winds were gusty and turbulent.

There, remember that when he puts us in the air, the four and a half hour flight in the Ilyushin jet, it used to be (those of you who followed us a few years ago when we used to take the Hercules C130 down) it used to be a six and a half hour flight but you still have to be able not to just say the wind’s not blowing now but to anticipate what’s going to be going down the line so we don’t get down there and do a turn around and have to come all the way back.

So the call was made tonight to send the crew back, the pilot and the crew back for a night’s rest, as is going to be the case for all of us waiting to go down to Antarctica.

Always one more nice meal to have in Punta Arenas, great restaurants here and that kind of helps us pass our time. Gus and Will and I are off to have a good meal, enjoy walking around the street a bit and tomorrow morning we’ll be up listening for the weather reports again and we’ll certainly report to you when we get our chance to head to Antarctica tomorrow.

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