Friday, April 25, 2008
The national parks are beautiful around here and the bus system is cheap and reliable, though prices aren't much cheaper than the US (though that could be the tourist-town factor). I don´t think I´ll be able to upload pics till I get back on the 1st unless I find a power adapter for my hard drive in Santiago, where I'll be on the 29th and 30th.
Have fun everyone.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
much-deserved half-day of sleep, there's not much to do besides watch
movies, read, and sleep some more. Crossing the Drake wasn't terrible but
it sure wasn't smooth, so things like organizing papers and working at the
computer were good ways to make the one's stomach and thus the trip
miserable and thus avoided (by me at least).
One cool thing was that during the crossing I was hanging out on the
bridge and one of the mates who was on watch offered to teach me how to
steer the boat. He took it off autopilot and for the next 20 minutes I got
to try my hand at keeping us on course, a delicate task I discovered. The
waves, cross-wind, and our large mass conspire to amplify or nullify course
corrections seemingly at random. I have new respect for the autopilot which
does a far better job and doesn't get distracted or bored with miles of
I did manage to read up a bit on Chile in general and Puerto Montt and
Pucon in particular since I'm planning on spending a few days up there.
Andy, our mechanic, has some pictures from when we went and it looks
beautiful. Pucon is a bit touristy, but I consider that an advantage at the
moment since my Spanish is almost non-existent.
Time to hit the hay which is considerably more stable now that we're in
the Magellan Straights. Night all.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Here's a map of the Chilean area.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I'm also fervently hoping that the IT folks who run the systems at these companies actually have decent network security. A shiny website and a large corporate name do not a secure network make, and I've worked at big-name places myself that actually still use things like ftp that transmit usernames and passwords unencrypted. Oh well, paper's not an option down here.
In other news, Chuck, my office-mate, has uploaded the videos of glacier calving that he took out our window a few months ago. You can see them with descriptions on his website: Glacier Calving, or directly at Youtube: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
There are also pics of a nifty foggy boat ride, complete with leopard seal (the grizzly of the Antarctic as they say). Raydene and some Chilean navy pilots all in their flight suits (which I assume Raydene brought down for just such an occasion).
More to come soon...
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
It's weird getting ready to leave. Part of me was wishing for a change of pace months ago but the rest of me already misses this place. It wasn't until the new sysadmin arrived on the last boat that I realized with minor shock that the season really is almost over. The new crew is very cool, so they will hopefully have a good winter. My replacement brought a Wii so the station is finally ready for the impending apocalypse that will leave them in womb-like isolation while civilizations collapse and humanity is reduced to hunting mutated house pets in the smoking craters that were once our cities. Just wait.
There's a saying in the program (USAP): the first time you come down is for the adventure, the second is for the money, and the third is because you don't fit in anywhere else. This rings truer now that I'm considering whether to apply for another season. After 6 months the novelty has waned somewhat and I can see how one's realization that you'll have to _pay_ for things again, repeatedly explain that Antarctica is _south_, and live with the knowledge that just a few more seasons would pay for that house, operation, mail-order-bride, etc. would keep people coming back. I imagine it's a bit like being in the military: you're part of a small community with fairly specific skill-sets and division of labor, all your basic needs are taken care of, and the bureaucracy and inefficiencies of the organization as a whole are distressingly comical.
Older posts will still be at
Vox is shutting down, so I've transferred the old posts over to
and pics are at
The layout's not as cool, so I may archive the site.