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

Route and site map
Date: Saturday, February 28th 2005
Time: 11:00 am
Location: Puerta Williams
Temperature: 8°C 46°F
Wind speed: 10 mph 8.6 knots
Wind chill:
Water Temperature: N/A
Altitude: 2 m
Weather: Constant wind and heavy rain
Distance Sailed: 20 miles

Yesterday we spent most of the day packing our gear into the boat. We also spent a long time repacking the food that we brought from Maine and bought in Punta Arenas. We decided to pack our food into daily bags with all perishables (meat and cheese) packed separately. We re-assembled the sleds, checked the drills, and did a bit more shopping for chocolate and batteries. We ate ravioli for lunch and chili-con-carne for dinner. The night was beautiful and clear with a big, bright moon lighting up the clouds from behind.

Puerto Williams is a very picturesque little town with beautiful snow-capped mountain views all around. The weather is usually windy and rainy, but when the sun shines it seems unreal.

This morning we finished packing the boat and we had some time free to wander about town. We discovered free computer access in the local library but the computers were so old that they did not even have USB! Andrei, Erich, and I had the bright idea of washing a few of our dirtier clothes at the local laundry. Two twelve-year old girls run the local laundry from the front room of their parent’s house. We walked in, dropped off our bags of clothes and were told to pick them up at 7 pm. Meanwhile, Charlie had finished dealing with all the red tape at the port authority and we now had a departure time of 7:30 pm. It is a good idea to be on board at least an hour prior to departure, so at 5:30pm Scott, Mike, and I ran back into town to rescue the laundry. Some of it was still wet, but at least it was all clean.

We left port at 7:30 pm, the Sun was out and the cloud height had increased to reveal the mountaintops all around us. There was barely a breath of wind… an absolutely perfect day. We motored for a couple of hours and eventually dropped anchor in a protected bay not far from Puerto Williams. We ate another delicious meal prepared by Martin and Klara, drank a glass of red wine and retired to our bunks.

Questions from Ms White's 7th grade class:

  1. What was the dog's name?
     The dog's name is Punky or perhaps Punchie?
  2. What makes a good site to collect ice cores?
    A good core site needs to have a low (less than -5°C) mean annual temperature and
    good annual layer preservation.
  3. Are there volcanoes in the area where you will travel? If yes, are
    they active?
    There is a non-active volcano very close to Cordillera Darwin but the nearest active volcano is beyond Punta Arenas.
  4. Will you have any native guides?
    No native guides (unless you count Juan on the boat!). We assume you mean a guide on land.
  5. What season is it?
    The season is late summer.
  6. How many hours of daylight do you have now?
    About 15-16 hours of daylight.
  7. What is a churrasco made of?
    The main ingredient in a Churrasco is beef steak, we also had avocado, lettuce, and tomato - YUM!

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