This morning the captain announced two things: we were low on fresh water so only absolutely necessary laundry and showers, and that we’d be reaching the Rothera base at 9 AM. We gathered up at the Monkey Island to watch our approach to the frozen continent. Shortly after we were moored in, the Rothera base commander came onboard and explained to us that we were welcome to come on shore as long as we obeyed the rules. The rules were to never go beyond the flags posted, and to always have a Rothera-person to escort on any hikes. In 2003, a biologist who was snorkeling from the shore got killed by a leopard seal, so absolutely no diving or snorkeling was allowed. Skiing and hiking, however, were possible. We gathered on the dock after lunch to go for a short hike, lead by the resident doctor. The JCR crew, unfortunately, who probably needed a break on land more than any of us, spent the whole afternoon unloading the cargo they had brought for Rothera. It seems like they have another full day of unloading the food and the fuel they have brought for the station.
It was quite exciting to get out to walk on land, albeit frozen, but not so exciting to walk right by the unservicable Dash-7 airplane sitting outside its hangar, smiling at us in a mean way. I can not help to think I’d be home in two days if the airplane had been working, and the best case scenario now is another 8 days before we can fly out of Stanley to any place.
We will be at Rothera at least until the 5th of December according to the current schedule. Our short hike was very interesting in terms of wildlife and more on that will come later tomorrow.


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