Global Green USA

Global Green USA is the U.S. affiliate of Green Cross International, President Mikhail Gorbachev's international environmental movement. Our mission is to reconnect humanity to the environment. Visit us on the web at: www.globalgreen.org

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Global Green USA's Finn Longinotto's Antarctic Expedition Blog

Feb. 1 - This is the third day without functioning email from the Ice Lady. We are promised that we will have a connection when we get into Jubany this afternoon. It´s now 9 a.m. on another clear day. It´s a comfortable 6 degrees C (water temperature minus 1 degree C) and we are lying off Penguin Island, on the easterly end of King George Bay, on King George Island in the Southern Shetlands. The ends of huge glaciers, blue with signs of recent calving into the water, are about a mile away.

Penguin Island itself is dramatic, red from iron content on the smooth but steep slopes, interrupted bymassive rock outcrops. Again, there are penguins bobbing around the boat and the occasional white-chinned petrel flying overhead toward the island. Having gone back to sleep after my 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. watch, I literally missed the boat to go ashore to explore the glaciers and see a penguin colony. I´m glad Sebastian made it as he missed out on yesterday´s. I see John is still sleeping, so I am not alone. The dingies have now returned from a comparatively modest expedition, during which they met up with passengers from a cruise ship, Diamond, and took pictures od sea lions on the beach. We are now about to pull anchor from here and anchor again in one of the most scenic spots, Bahia Lassere (Admiralty Bay), where there is a Brazilian Base, Zera, and two dramatic glaciers come to an end at the western and eastern extremities of the bay.

Those that didn´t make this morning´s expedition have priority! On the move again, in for a great urprise: a huge upturned iceberg, showing the bright green previous undersurface in all its extraordinary shapes and colors. Even Carlois Vairo, our resident expert, Director of the Ushuaia Maritme Museum, who has been sailing these Antarctic waters for eight years, had never seen such a sight before. After this, we were scheduled to head back west to Jubany to meet the others for the concert on the ice. We are trying to contact them to coordinate, both for the musical event and the visit of GA´s dignitaries, as well as aerial photo opportunites using the helicopter kindly offered us by the Argentine Navy icebreaker Irizar (note corrected spelling, if mentioned earlier). So far we have heard that the Irizar, with which we are scheduled to rendez-vous later today or tomorrow, is itself stuck in thick ice and unable to make it this way till the 3rd or 4th.

There is also a squall forecast for tomorrow, Thursday, and calm sunny weather again on Friday; underlining the dictum that, in Antarctica especially, the best of plans are subject to the weather. Breaking news from GCA, at noon: Twenty people, GCA staff, musicians, choir and guests are wating to leave Buenos Aires for Rio Gallegos, from where they will be flown to the Argentine bae of Maraimbo as soon as this has been arranged with military aircraft, also dependant on the weather: As originally planned, they will be flown by smaller planes from there to Jubany where we will meet up. The earliest this is likely to happen is Friday, after the brief storm. They will contact us by satelite phone to confirm or if there is any change. The Ice Lady can be in Jubany within two or three hours from anywhere in these parts. Once the Irizar is free of ice we will continue to coordinate with them for helicopter and aerial photos.(to be continued, but left in outgoing mail in case, miraculously, a connection is re-established). FL