Friday, February 11, 2011

in port

14:30 GMT, 11 February, 53�10.2 S 070�54.4 W (Punta Arenas, Chile)

We've been in port two days and many of us have been making up for lost
(beer drinking) time. Apparently we will be heading back to Antarctica
Sunday morning. I'm not sure I would enjoy living here long term, but I
really like Punta Arenas. I don't know if I like the town simply because
we've been at sea for a month and any town would do, or maybe I'm just
still enamoured with the concept of being at the end of the world, but I
think there's more to it. People are generally quite friendly, and so
are the thousands of stray dogs. The dogs seem really content and
healthy. It seems the townspeople feed them as one might feed a
neighborhood cat. Yesterday I saw several dogs enjoying bones that I
guess came from the butcher down the street. I also saw a woman giving
another dog an ice cream cone. So I think the stray dogs in PA are doing

We docked at the Mardones Pier (which is ca 4 km from the center of
town) Wednesday morning, but this morning we moved to Pratt Pier (which
is right in the heart of the town, so much more convenient for
sightseeing) to make room for a big cruise ship. A 45 foot Argentinian
ketch (sailboat) tied up right next to us at the pier to fill water and
fuel. I talked to the crew who had sailed down from Buenos Aires. They
had been in the Beagle Channel and only came to Punta Arenas to get some
repairs done. I've only seen one other sailboat in PA, a red steel-
hulled ketch that my coworkers saw in Antarctica last year. On the other
side of the pier from us is the icebreaker Lawrence M. Gould which has
also been sailing in antarctica. In fact, in November they dropped off
the scientists at Copacabana and Cape Shirreff field camps who we
resupplied in January. I met a couple of the crew and scientists last
night, and I'm hoping to get a tour. Well, I'm rambling, so I think I'll
head to town and do some more sightseeing.

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