Thursday, 6 March 2014

The end of the road...

The forecast ahead does not look promising, and yet we get up each morning aflutter with hope and anticipation. We congregate at breakfast eagerly waiting good news from Alan, the captain of the plane which will (eventually) fly us south. This morning, alas, heralded more bad news about the weather... no flight today (but fingers crossed for tomorrow). However, we are choosing to see this as extra time to explore Punta, rather than less time at Rothera.

A view of Punta Arenas (photo by Ellen)
Yesterday afternoon was spent exploring museums, making plans for the cruise and nursing hangovers from the night before. However, come evening we succumbed to our thirst for adventure, gave into impulse and hired a car. Five intrepid explorers; Mike B, Ellen, Ollie and the two of us, set off on a mission to get to the end of the road - the end of the road on mainland America! We drove as far south as was possible, through the magnificent Patagonian countryside with stunning sunset skies overhead. The road runs alongside the Strait of Magellan and we ended up with a picnic on the beach as the light slowly faded around us. Lovely.
Road trip (photo by Ellen)

Fun at the end of the road (photo by Ollie)
Our drive back to Punta at night was punctuated by a stop at the side of the darkened road to take in the magnificence of the night sky. Down here there is very little light pollution and the stars shone brightly. The milky way was a blazing streak across the sky. Our stargazing brought home the reality of our trip, above us was a sky we didn't recognise. Gone were the familiar constellations we know from home, replaced by new and unfamiliar arrangements. Even old friends such as Orion were like strangers, upside-down from our perspective! And this is just a taster for the skies that can be seen at sea.

Upside down Orion (photo by Ollie)
We feel very aware of just how lucky we are to get to work in places like this; the beautiful landscapes and friendly locals have really drawn us in. So today we are off to a explore a nearby national park and visit a replica of Magellan's ship, The Victoria. :)

Science is on standby for the weather, but do stay tuned...

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