Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Waiting with Magellan

Hello readers!

Day 2 in Punta Arenas. We are still waiting for good weather to fly south.... while we bask in the sunshine here it is a very different story down at Rothera. Have a look at the webcam on the base and you might get an idea why....

Despite our itchy feet we have been making the most of our time here, sightseeing, swimming in the sea (go Ollie!), sampling the local specialities; flame grilled lamb, conga eel and one or two pisco sours! Its also been a great opportunity for a little team bonding.

Contemplating Punta (photo by Mike M)

A long way from home (photo by Mike M)

During our sightseeing in Punta yesterday we made the pilgrimage to the statue of Magellan. Ferdinand Magellan is a famous Portuguese explorer and it is tradition that seafaring types like us give his big toe a rub (or a kiss!) to ensure a safe return.
Kissing Magellan. back row, left to right: Kim, Mike B, Heather, Ollie, Tom, Andrew, Mike M & Jesse. Front row, left to right: Ellen, Ewa, Xiaolong, Siobhan & Katy.
Punta Arenas is on the Strait of Magellan, which is where Ferdinand Magellan sailed through on the first circumnavigation of the globe in 1519-1522. Despite organising the expedition Magellan came to a sticky end* in the Philippines and never completed the voyage. However his intrepid adventures have left behind a legacy which inspired other explorers, such as Sir Francis Drake. The Magellanic Penguin was named after him, and lives in burrows in South America. There are many other memorials to the explorer, including a crater on Mars!

*involving a bamboo spear...

A Magellanic Penguin spotted by Siobhan in the Falkland Islands last year

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