After three days of waiting and travelling we arrived at Jubany.
We started our long journey at noon on the 16 December at the Instituto Antártico Argentino (IAA) in Buenos Aires. A bus brought us to the military airfield in Palomar where we had to wait for about an hour before a technician informed us that the aircraft was broken. After waiting for several more hours at the airfield and going back and forth between Buenos Aires and Palomar, we were finally told that we were not supposed to fly before 10 am on the next day.
So on the next morning (17 December 2010) we went back to Palomar by bus. Like the day before it turned out to be a tough day of wait. The whole morning we sat and waited for news. It was a very hot day of about 35°C. Around noon they told us that there will be a test-flight at 2pm and that we can go for lunch. So Patrick and I could enjoy a typical argentine lunch. We were sitting in a Parilla at the street and had chorizo sandwiches and fresh salad for the last time.
Back to the military base we waited again. Finally, at around five o´clock we were sitting in the aircraft, a Hercules, where it was even warmer than outside, and we were immediately sweating like hell. Water bottles made their way around so that we could stand the heat. And we really took off and had a 5 h flight to the military base in Rio Gallegos in the southern part of Argentina.
Since it was too late to continue the flight to King George Island, Antarctica, we stayed at the base, had dinner and a place to sleep. On the next morning the journey should continue at 10am (now we are at the 3rd day of travel, 18 December 2010). Really, shortly before ten o'clock the military people made us hurry to pack our staff and get into the bus that would bring us to the Hercules again.
We arrived at Frei (the Chilean Base, which has a runway) around 1pm. In the Hangar we met the people, who have been on Jubany for the last weeks. However, it was only a short reunion, because the aircraft had to take off again and bring them back to the continent as South America is called here.
Well, we have finally arrived in Antarctica, but we were still not at the end of our journey. The Chileans brought us to the coast where the Castillo (military boat from 1943) was waiting to take us onboard and bring us to Jubany.
Pax and luggages were packed into zodiacs and then loaded to the Castillo. It took some time before we could make the one hour ride to Jubany, but the people onboard gave us hot coffee and soup that we could warm up. The weather during this time was very nasty, with snow and rough wind, and this was still the case when we entered Potter Cove in front of Jubany. Thus, it was not possible to unload the zodiacs and set over. The decision was made to go back to Frei and pick up some scientists who had come over from Marambio (another Argentine base) and had landed shortly after us. After going back and forth we arrived at Jubany for the second time and this time we had sunshine, saw our first whale, jumping penguins and skuas.
Around 9pm on the 18 December 2010 we set our feet on the area of Jubany Base and were very tired, but happy that we have made it.