1 March, 2000
To Punta Arenas; Board the R.V. Gould
Question 11: What makes a ship an icebreaker?
We got an early start from Puerto Natales to be back in Punta Arenas in time to board the Gould by 1pm. The 240 km drive took under 4 hours. It was lovely to be driving on pavement again!
In Punta Arenas, we stopped at the grocery store before we went to the dock to get whatever fresh fruits or packaged goods we wanted for Palmer and on the ship. There is no ship store and a very limited one at Palmer Station. If you forget your soap, you have to be willing to use the brand they have available. If it is something less common that you have forgotten, you have to borrow or do without.
We drove out onto the dock and pulled our van right up next to the Gould. Dr. Chuck Amsler, the only missing member of our party, met us there. We carried everything that we had in the van onto the ship ourselves. The rest of our luggage that had been sitting in the AGUNSA warehouse while we drove to the park had already been lifted on board in a cargo net. We took a few minutes to clean out the dust from the inside of the van before we returned it, then got on board.
Room on the ship is limited, especially personal space. Each stateroom has two bunks with drawers below and a small closet of shelves for each occupant. I had to reshuffle my gear again so that what I needed was in my cabin and everything else was stored below decks. Tonight's dinner is the last meal in a restaurant; it is ship and station food after that.
The dock area is very busy. There is a large fish processing ship opposite us, some miscellaneous cargo ships further down the dock, and dozens of small crab, seaweed, and fishing boats moored between us and the shore. Off shore are some larger crabbing vessels as well as an oil tanker on a mooring near the oil platform.
Answer 10: While there are penguin species that breed along the coasts of southern Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Chile, the furthest north is in the Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos penguin lives near the equator, but it survives there only because of the cold water of the Humboldt Current which flows from the Southern Ocean. The species is at the limit of its tolerance there, and in El Nino years when the warm water pushes the Humboldt Current aside, it fails to reproduce successfully.
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