Leaving El PalomarFebruary 17, 2014
Following the Night of the Tormentas, we ended up spending three more nights there, punctuated by sweltering days, humid nights, occasional storms, numerous power outages, and even losses of running water. We were hopeful that each day would be our last, and even got as far as turning in our linen one morning only to hear that there were continuing problems with getting our C-130 tested. Following that disappointment, we were issued new linens and were thrilled to see the plane takeoff and make four circuits around the base.
We were then told to have our new linens checked in and have our bags ready for pickup at 8:00 a.m. the next morning. We had our usual beers at La Fortunata that afternoon, followed by our first and only off-base dinner at Zarco, an Italian place.
The next morning went off more or less as planned, and we took off at about 10:00 a.m. for Ushuaia, about five hours south of El Palomar. There we dropped off half our passengers who were bound for Argentine bases other than Marambio, while we took a few photos of the surrounding sunlit mountains and glaciers, huddling behind a wall to shield ourselves from a chilly 30 knot breeze, and waiting for our C-130 to be refueled.
Thirty minutes later we were again airborne, this time heading for rainy Rio Gallegos. IAA maintains a very nice barracks area there (Rio Gallegos is another Fuerza Aerea base). We were served two meals, pasta and beef at about 4:00 p.m., and polenta and beef at about 9:00 p.m. Some of us read books, while the others watched “Battleship,” a US Navy recruiting film in English with Spanish subtitles disguised as a science fiction thriller. Spoiler alert: the Earthlings win.
The next morning we awoke to a cloud-free sky above a landscape reminiscent of eastern Colorado. We watched from the passenger terminal as our cargo was reloaded, and then stepped aboard the C-130 for the final leg of our now 14-day journey south. After an uneventful four hour flight, we touched down in Marambio.