Abrupt Climate Change - Ice cores from Patagonia

NOAA This project is supported by a grant from NOAA, Office of Global Programs

Paul Mayewski, Andrei Kurbatov, Dan Dixon,
Erich Osterberg, UMaine
Charlie Porter, Patagonia Research Foundation and UMaine

Mike Ellis and Scott Mason, Stonehaven Productions, Canada
February 20, 2005 to March 22, 2005
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Packing food
The ferry
Driving onto the ferry
Doggy tricks
Building in downtown
Another building in downtown
Local bus
Market place
view of a park
Downtown street
Chilean boys
Trash receptacles





Date: Thursday, February 24th 2005
Time: 9:44 am
Location: Punta Arenas
Temperature: 14°C 57°F
Wind speed: 10 mph 8.7 knots
Wind chill:
Water Temperature: N/A
Altitude: 18m
Weather: sunny, blustery, scattered clouds and brief periods of rain
Distance Sailed: 0 miles

Yesterday we spent the whole morning shopping for last minute items. After our highly successful shopping spree we took a break for some lunch. Shopping for an expedition is quite hard work! For lunch we all had a Churrasco, an extremely delicious Chilean sandwich.

After lunch we hailed a cab back to our hotel and securely packed all our last-minute fuel and food in boxes ready for the ferry ride. Juan, the hotel owner, kindly allowed us to fill the back of his pickup truck again and then drove us to the ferry terminal. As we pulled in to the terminal main office, we saw that the shipping container with all our gear in it had disappeared! We were relieved when Juan told us that it had already been loaded onto the ferry.

After driving aboard the ferry and unloading the remainder of our gear, Juan offered to take us out on a tour of the city. We gladly accepted his offer.
Punta Arenas is a beautiful city with a modern shopping and business area
downtown. The suburbs are very picturesque, with thousands of quaint-looking and colorful houses. The charming thing about the suburban areas is that each house is unique, no matter where you go you can never find two houses that look the same! Another interesting feature of the suburban areas is the raised trash receptacles at the corner of each street. This is undoubtedly an attempt to prevent wild dogs from rummaging through people’s rubbish. There are many wild dogs roaming the streets of Punta Arenas, it is not uncommon to see packs of five or six dogs roaming freely. It is unclear whether these animals actually belong to anyone, but they can be quite a problem; several times while driving through the city we were forced to slam on the brakes so as not to hit a roaming mutt without any road sense.

Juan’s tour included a drive along the coast; we saw many fishing boats and several enormous old wrecks. After chatting for a while with Juan over a cup of delicious Chilean coffee it was time for dinner. We ate our dinner at a restaurant that was highly recommended to us by Juan, the food was lovely and we spent a long time afterwards discussing details of our plan for the coming weeks.

This morning we ate breakfast and then settled down in front of Andrei’s laptop computer to examine some satellite images of our field areas. Gordon Hamilton of the Climate Change Institute provided the images for us. We spent several hours looking for the ideal ice-coring sites and plotting the safest routes.

We vacated our rooms at the hotel and it is now time for lunch. After lunch, we will head to the ferry terminal. This time we will board the ferry and set off
for Puerto Williams. Charlie flew to Puerto Williams ahead of us yesterday. He will be preparing his boat, Ocean Tramp, ready for the next leg of our voyage.

The ferry trip to Puerto Williams takes 24 hours and will take us through the Magellan Strait, briefly into the Pacific Ocean, right past Cordillera Darwin, and then down the Beagle Channel. Puerto Williams, our destination, is approximately 100 miles north of Cape Horn. It should be a spectacular trip, let’s hope for some good weather!

Tree in a park     signs     Punta Arenas from above     Giant Crab

The team walks on the beach     Shipwreck     Shipwreck sign     Planning the routes
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