In MarambioFebruary 18, 2014
Ted and Rob had decidedly mixed feelings about returning to Base Marambio, a.k.a. Base Mondongo, after their one-month stint in 2006, but they admit that so far the food has been surprisingly good (and tripe-free). Of course a vegetarian would have a tough time here.
The sleeping quarters are also a bit of a challenge. The three of us are sharing a room with three other men, none of whom speak much English, but more than any of us speak Spanish. The ear plugs we brought for the C-130 flight are even more necessary in Room 15 once the snoring cranks up around 3:00 a.m. But the worst part of our stay so far has been our frustration in trying to get to our field sites.
We spent our second day here (Thu 2/13) repacking our field equipment in anticipation of a Friday morning helicopter flight. Then at 8:30 a.m. we awoke to bright sunshine and had our equipment moved to the pad only to find out that only one helicopter would be flying one field team to their site and it wasn’t us. Later that evening we were told that no helicopters would be flying Saturday, but that Sunday would possible.
Saturday (today) we again woke to bright sunshine but were told that Sunday nobody would be flying helicopters due to a poor weather forecast. So now our hopes are on Monday for which the forecast again looks good.
We took advantage of the good weather this morning to take a two hour hike down a few hundred feet to a point northeast of the runway and about 150 feet above the water. On the way, we observed an armada of bergy bits being blown to the southwest by a stiff breeze in our faces. We also found mounds of fossil clams and snails eroded out from local sedimentary deposits mixed with an assortment of igneous rocks that had been transported east from the Antarctic Peninsula by long departed glaciers.
Saturday night is party night in Marambio, and the pulse of the station picks up. Slightly. Everyone is issued two beers (yay!) and dinner is something fun — for this Saturday, steak sandwiches. Beef is kind of an “Argentina thing.”
So now, again, we wait.