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11 May, 2000

Leave Punta Arenas, Travel to United States Question 82: What makes the family Channichthyidae, which includes 15 Antarctic species, such a strange group of fishes? This morning everyone was up early on the Gould. While we didn't leave for the airport until 11am, there were plenty of live specimens (mostly starfish) that had to be packed at the last minute so the ice would keep their temperature low while in transit. They were packed in insulated Cold Safes (a heavy-duty metal version of a cooler) and will be resupplied with fresh ice in Miami. Once that was accomplished, we did a little last-minute souvenir shopping in Punta Arenas and brought the last of our luggage out of our staterooms. Watching our luggage being lowered by crane and cargo net into the waiting AGUNSA trucks really brought home the fact that our time on the ice was over. The flight to Santiago was an uneventful reverse version of our trip down. We again had lovely views of the Torres del Paine mountains which we visited and of the southern half of the country sloping precipitously from mountain top to coastline all the way to Santiago. We were met at our gate and ushered through customs by Jimmy again. There was time enough in the airport for some food and one last bit of shopping (gorgeous carved wooden birds made by Chilean artists) before we were packed onto our overnight flight to Miami. Our group of United States Antarctic Program people has dispersed. Some of the station crew members who returned with us to South America left early this morning for their vacations. Others took only the first leg of the jumper flight to Santiago and stopped at the resort area of Puerto Montt, and still others branched off in Santiago. Answer 81: Yes, some young live pelagically, and some adults may make occasional/seasonal pelagic forays to feed. The Antarctic silverfish is one of the few that is pelagic year-round, eating copepods and krill.


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