Still in Punta Arenas

Posted by: | January 10, 2010
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Vinson Massif

Antarctica was simply not in the cards today. Too windy down at Patriot Hills, where our big four-engine jet transport has to put down on wheels on an ice runway. The prevailing winds are across the strip and it doesn’t take much to make airplane landing attempts unwise. It wasn’t a big storm system, just normal katabatics… the gravity driven flow of air off the polar plateau, downward and outward toward Antarctica’s coast. The good thing was that ALE could tell us definitively that the day wouldn’t work, rather than keeping everybody in their boots and waiting hour to hour for some calmer conditions. People were free to lounge about or to stroll the quiet streets. It being Sunday in South America, there wasn’t much at all going on in the streets of Punta Arenas this morning. There were a fair number of people walking about as a massive 2000 plus passenger cruise ship was anchored just out from the city pier. Well into the afternoon, it was a fine summer day, warm and windless, but in the late afternoon it clouded up and got cool and rainy. Typically, Punta gets dynamic weather with big swings on any given day. None of this prevented my climbers from going out to visit Otway Sound for a tour of the Magellenic penguin colony 70 km north of Punta Arenas. Once the gang was back in town, we walked a few blocks from the hotel for another fine and friendly dining experience at La Marmita. Walking home to the hotel, I told everybody to plan on flying, first thing tomorrow… but we’ll just see what the katabatics have to say about things.

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