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Antarctica: Latin Americans Blog from the Coldest Place on Earth

Editor's Note: This is part 1 in a 2-part series looking at blogs written from or about Antarctica by Latin Americans

The frigid surroundings of Antarctica may be the last place one would think to find bloggers. However, a handful of Latin Americans have become interested in sharing their experiences traveling or working on this desolate continent. Some write directly from Antarctica posting photos and videos helping readers feel what it is like to be so far away from home, while others wait once they return to the South American continent to post to personal and group blogs.

Several countries are well represented in the Antarctic blogosphere. Chile, in addition to the website of the Chilean Antarctic Institute [es], publishes information via the blog Antarctic Air Base President E. Frei M [es]. The blog unfortunately only has one post published and is devoted mainly to radio communications. Roberto Bravo Vidal of Terra Australis Incognita [es] devotes his blog to news and reports about Antarctica.

For more than 20 years, Peru has been working and conducting research from the Machu Picchu Scientific Base administered by the Peruvian Antarctic Institute [es], and which was profiled at the blog Vida y Futuro [es] from the newspaper El Comercio. Finally on his own personal blog, Peruvian filmmaker Humberto Saco publishes his documentary about Peru's presence on the continent [es].

Uruguay has many more blogs devoted to Antarctica, including one called Antarctic Feelings [es] that publishes poems about the continent and another called The Blog of the Antarctic Association [es]. Both are not written from the ice, but of the expeditions taken: Antarkos 23 [es] and Antarkos 25 [es] During the former, an interesting phenomenon [es] called an Ice Prism is described:

Photo of Ice Prism by Antarkos 23 and used with permission.

En la noche del 5 de setiembre de 2007, tuvimos el privilegio de observar un Hidrometeoro poco común, llamado “Prisma de hielo”. Este fenómeno consiste en la precipitación de cristales de hielo que tienen forma de agujas, placas o columnas, normalmente muy tenues y que dan la sensación de estar en suspensión en la atmósfera los cuales al observarlos sobre un foco de luz, producen reflejos como el que se aprecia en la foto. Estos cristales de hielo pueden caer de una nube o con una situación de cielo despejado y se producen a temperaturas inferiores a -10ºC.

On the night of September 5, 2007, we had the privilege of observing an uncommon Hydrometeor called the “Ice Prism.” This phenomenon consists of the precipitation of ice crystals which takes the form of needles, blocks or columns, normally very light and gives the sensation of being suspended in the atmosphere. When observing it over a light bulb, it produces a reflection that one can see in the photograph. These ice crystals can fall from a cloud or in some cases from a clear sky when the temperature is below -10 C.

From the second blog, Uruguayan Waldemar Fontes, describes how the team celebrated Christmas [es] on the Artigas Scientific Base:

Photo of Christmas dinner on the Artigas Scientific Base by Antarkos 25 and used with permission.

El 24 de diciembre de 2008, la dotación Antarkos 25, más un grupo de científicos alemanes y uruguayos, celebramos la Navidad en familia. Compartimos una cena con turrones, pan dulce y tortas alemanas y degustamos un delicioso lechón al horno. A las doce la noche, sin distinción de origen o nacionalidades, levantamos las copas y brindamos. Lo mejor de la velada, fue la llegada de Papá Noel, que viajando en la pala del tractor de la Base, llegó hasta nuestro comedor y uno a uno, fue entregando regalitos a quienes se habían portado bien.

On December 24, 2008 the team Antarkos 25, which is more than a group of German and Uruguayan scientists, celebrated Christmas as a family. We shared a dinner with traditional candy, sweet bread, German cakes, and enjoyed delicious oven-baked pork. At twelve midnight, with no distinction of origin or nationality, we lifted our cups and toasted. The best part of the evening, was the arrival of Santa Claus, traveling on the shovel of the base's tractor, arrived to our dining room and one by one, started to distribute gifts to those who had been good.

Part II featuring Argentinean bloggers in Antarctica will be published later this week.

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