We have been informed today that the Dash-7 flights we were looking forward to, that would take us out of Rothera and into Punta Arenas, Chile, then to home, have been canceled. The airplane needs a part which is being brought over from Canada by a mechanic, and the whole process to make it fly again will take at least 12 days. According to the original plan we were supposed to reach Rothera on the 3rd of December; one Dash-7 flight would go out to Punta Arenas the same day, and one would go out on the 5th, taking all the cargo, JR240 scientists and some others who had over-wintered at the Rothera base, in two sorties.
A decision has been made by the captain and the chief scientist that instead of waiting at Rothera, we will sail back to Stanley, Falkland Islands on the JCR. We are expected to fly out from there to our final destinations on the 11th or the 12th of December, a few days earlier than what would have been if we waited for the Dash-7. Sailing on the JCR another week is actually something most of us are looking forward to, especially since we have completed the scientific ice work as of today. Of course most of us, however, had plans for the end of the cruise that are now spoiled. Chris’s wife Susan was going to fly from Boston to Punta Arenas and meet him there for several weeks of hiking in Patagonia. I was going to Puerto Rico for diving with my other advisor, Roger Hanlon, to film octopus. Keith, a member of the Scottish team, had a family vacation planned in London. Oh well. They say if you make plans God just laughs at you. Not to mention we are low on fresh water and produce on board too. Fresh water can be made from sea water along the way, but there is no canned or frozen substitute for lettuce or tomatoes AND Stanley isn’t exactly a fertile port to stock up more produce.
On the bright side, we finished our entire science mission on a good day today. Despite the heavy winds (IT Johnnie calculated the temperature felt in the morning to be -10 Fahrenheit!! which was 20 F + windchill at 19 knots) all parties collected good data. For the AUV team, the number of deployments throughout the cruise equaled the number of recoveries, which deserves a celebration all on its own. At the end of this last station, Jeff fulfilled his dream of using a chain saw to cut through an ice ridge, and Clay, who had wishfully shipped his snowboard to the JCR back in July, got to snowboard gracefully down a small slope.

Jeff doing scientific research

I know someone who has snowboarded in Antarctica!

The Twin Otter flew really low today

Mythbusters Antarctica: Penguins do NOT fall on their backs if they watch a plane go by.

Is this the last penguin I'll ever see in the wild?


1 Comment on Change of Plans

  1. Dorothy says:

    What a wonderful experience for all of us who are following your blog. The pictures are awesome and the bios are inspiring. Too bad it is ending but glad you will be safe at home soon. We are all proud of you.

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