3 January, 2000
I have had a busy day. It is 10:00 pm and it is not dark outside yet. That is strange and will take some getting used to. I got fitted for my extreme cold weather (ECW) gear this morning. What a collection of clothes! I can't imagine wearing all the things they assigned me, but I bet I change my mind once I reach Palmer. All items for ECW fit in a military issue duffel bag. Once I tried it all on and sign for it, they tagged it with my name and tossed it onto the ship. I walked to town after lunch and found Punta Arenas to be very low key and quaint. The people here are very friendly and helpful. Everyone greets you with a smile. They seem to know you need one! I am getting very excited! It is 1800 hours and we're on our way. Everyone had to attended a safety meeting a bit ago. What a site that was! You had about 30 people in a room putting on their safety suit and life vest. You had to make sure everything worked: whistles, lights, zippers and flotation hose. Once we had the safety gear training, we all reported onto deck and loaded into the lifeboat. Now folks, this is no ordinary lifeboat. Actually, it looks like a small submarine. This boat is totally covered. It comes complete with locomotion and steering capabilities, and radio communications. It will hold up to 44 people. Everyone safely strapped themselves in like they are fixing to go on a ride from Six Flags! There are 2 lifeboats this size and a couple of other smaller ones.
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