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6 September, 1994


I arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile four days ago, but our ship (the Nathanial B. Palmer) is not due in for yet another day. Apparently there have been some serious mixups and the Palmer was sent out to "save" the Polar Duke which was trapped in ice. The good news is that the trip will proceed and that we will probably get an extension of four or five days.

The extra time has allowed us all to see more of Patagonia than we might have otherwise seen. We all rented a couple of vans and traveled northward towards Torres del Paine National Park in the Andes. We had a lot of fun, despite the snow and bitter winds. We spent much of the first day pushing the vans up some very steep hills. We were a little crazy, but it gave us a chance to be active and to get to know one another. We were finally thwarted by the snow and we turned back to Puerto Natales after we ditched the vans in a snow bank.

The following day was clear and calm (although quite cold) and we headed into a fiord by tour boat (not much competition from tourists so early in the season). We saw some incredible views and we got off from the ship and hiked through the snow to a glacier. It was fantastic!! And to top it off, our trip back took us past a small group of sea lions resting on the rocks. Some folks even saw dolphins!

Today we arrived back in Punta Arenas and we were issued our outerwear for the trip. We also scoped out the warehouse for Martin (Dr. Jeffries from U.A. in Fairbanks) in order to be sure that our equipment had arrived. The days after the arrival of the Palmer will be busy because we want to aim for a very short turnaround time so that we can be underway ASAP.

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