Alberto de Augustini National Park, Chile

Setting sail for Antarctica

Journey to the end of the earth

Journey to Antarctica

I am on my route to sample fishes at several islands off the Antarctic Peninsula over the next weeks.I have joined a group of US and Chilean scientists, and we will work together to assess whether the area can be reopened for commercial interests. My role is to aid in these survey efforts while being able to subsample tissues for genomic and transcriptomic work involving immune genes, as well as specimens, for our lab’s research goals.

We left from the port city of Punta Arenas in Chile. This is a really cool city with an interesting history. During the last century the city saw an economic boom thanks to creating tycoons of timber and wool manufacturing. This flow of money resulted in constructing numerous lavish buildings throughout the city creating wonderful canvas for an architecture enthusiast. The city itself has since become a canvas for artists and is full of murals and boasts a vibrant art community. In our few days in port we made several new local friends and were introduced to the incredible music scene “at the end of world”. Here are some pictures from in town.

Calibrating Sonar

Leaving from Punta Arenas on a Chilean vessel allowed us to cruise through Alberto de Augustini National Park in extreme southern patagonia.

Our reason for going through the park was to get some initial calibrations on sonar that would allow us to more effectively find fish. This involves finding a small (6” diameter) copper ball that is lowered into the water and since the dimensions of the ball are known, the sonar is calibrated to find it precisely.

Here is the ball used for sonar calibration

This ball is then dropped to known depths and the sonar calibrated accordingly

Cruising through Southern Patagonia

The captain picked a gorgeous site for this, and we got stuninng views of mountains and waterfalls while we waited (and even a rainbow!). The weather was sunny and the fjords were nothing short of spectacular. Words don’t do this justice so here are some pictures I took.

I also assembled some photos and made a quick video of photos & video I took. We didn’t have a fitting soundtrack so I mixed together soundbites from everyones mp3s to create something for the background.

Dialogue & Discussion