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Antarctica: More Blogs from the Coldest Place on Earth

Editor's Note: This is part 2 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 find bloggers. However, there have been a handful of Latin Americans who have become interested in sharing their experiences traveling or working on this desolate continent. Some do 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.

A summary of the presence of other countries can be found at the first part of this series.

From Argentina, the blog Antarctic Open Expedition [es] is counting down the days until the new expedition departs for the frigid continent. Juan Kestelboim writes about his departure day:

hoy es quizás el día más importante de mi vida. Hace tres noches que no duermo, son las 3.45 de la mañana y en 45 minutos estaré en la puerta de la Dirección Nacional del Antártico para subir a un autobús con rumbo al aeropuerto militar de El Palomar. Allí me encontraré con Mariano Rabinstein, mi amigo de toda la vida con el que planeamos esto hace 12 meses.

Si todo sale bien, subiremos a un avión Hércules que en seis horas lllegará a Ushuaia. De la pista de aterrizaje, algún vehículo nos trasladará al ARA Canal de Beagle, un barco de carga de 120 metros de eslora y 17 de manga preparado para abastecer las bases antárticas argentinas. Pasaremos dos días entre olas de 10 metros y pastillas para el mareo antes de ver los primeros témpanos y a las personas que viven junto a ellos.

Today may be the most important day of my life. I have not slept for three nights, it is 3:45 a.m. and in 45 minutes I will be at the front door of the National Antarctic Office to board a bus towards the El Palomar military airport. There I will meet up with Mariano Rabinstein, my lifelong friend and with whom we have been planning this for the past 12 months.

If everything goes well, we will board a Hercules plane that will take us to Ushuaia in six hours. From the landing strip, some vehicle will take us to the ARA Beagle Channel, a cargo ship 120 meters long and 17 meters wide and which will supply the Argentine antarctic bases. We will spend two days on 10 meter high waves and with pills to combat seasickness before seeing the first ice caps and the people who live there.

The Argentine blogger Blinx has been blogging directly from the San Martín Scientific Base [es] and the site also contains a live webcam. He also filmed this time-lapsed video:

Timelapse Noviembre – Diciembre from blinx on Vimeo.

The blog Antarjub – Base Jubany – Antártida [es] maintained by Richard Javier Ortíz contains many educational posts, including one about the description of the climate:

El Clima tiene varias características, es húmedo por la cercanía con el mar, ya que es una isla y la Base está sobre la costa.También es muy ventoso, las precipitaciones son escasas en forma de llovizna, pero abundantes en nevada sobre todo en epoca invernal. No se producen tormentas eléctricas, ya que no llegan las corrientes cálidas hasta esta latitud. Si existe la llamada ventizca que son fuertes ráfagas de viento con precipitación de nieve, dando como resultado la visibilidad casi nula en reiteradas oportunidades y hasta serias dificultades para deambular. La temperatura en el verano, suele estar en el rango de -10 a +7 con registros mínimo de -17 y máximo 10 en ocaciones. En Invierno la mínima puede llegar holgadamente a los -30 y la máxima apenas llega a una cifra (+7). En cuanto al viento, es muy común en esta zona, al punto de considerar un buen día cuando sólo hay 20 o 30 Km/h pudiendo llegar sobre todo en invierno a los 170 Km/h, velocidad ésta que dificulta mucho caminar, y si a esto le sumamos la inestabilidad debido al hielo del suelo, resulta peligroso andar a la intemperie.

The climate has various characteristics, it is humid for its proximity to the ocean, since it is an island and the Base is on the coast. It is also very windy, precipitation is scarce in the form of drizzle, but snow is plentiful especially in winter. There are no electrical storms, since warm currents do not reach this latitude. However, there is what they call “ventizca” which are strong gusts of wind with snow precipitation, which makes visibility almost zero and makes it difficult to walk around. The summer temperature can reach a range of -10 to +7 C with minimum temperatures of -17 and up to 10 on occasion. In winter, the minimum temperature can reach -30 and the maximum barely reaches +7C. In terms of wind, it is very common in this area, and it is considered to be a good day when it only reaches 20 or 30 km/h and in winter the winds can reach up to 170 km/h making it very difficult to walk, and if we add the instability due to the ice on the ground, makes it very dangerous to walk out in the open.

There are some blogs that also contain some interesting photos such as Fresco pa’ chomba! [es] and Lince Bajo Cero [es]. Another Argentine blogger named Martín writes at El Grillo Loco Desde La Base Antártica [es] and describes the role of the Argentine Polar Dogs:

Traidos por el General Pujato (fundador de la base) en 1950, originarios de Alaska y Canada. Han sido imprescindibles para las penetraciones polares del Ejercito Argentino. Cada año se fueron multiplicando y cruzando, hasta conformar una raza robusta y resistente de mayor porte y peso que sus padres originales. Simpáticos y dóciles, amigos incondicionales de los hombres, eran sumamente agresivos entre si, llegando a consumar peleas a muerte. Con increíble sensibilidad e instinto para detectar grietas, poseían capacidad para alertar infaliblemente situaciones de peligro. transportar trineos de carga incansablemente y encontrar caminos con rastros imperceptibles. La protección del medio ambiente antártico determino su triste ausencia hace poco mas de una década. Viejos antárticos atesoran el recuerdo de imágenes y emociones que solo pudieron ser, gracias al fiel servicio de los PERROS POLARES ARGENTINOS.

Brought by General Pujato (base founder) in 1950, originating from Alaska and Canada. They have been indispensable for the polar incursions of the Argentine Army. Each year their numbers multiplied and they mated, until becoming a robust species and resistant and with a larger size and weight than their original parents. Nice and docile, unconditional friends of man, they were aggressive amongst one another, even fighting to the death. With an incredible sensitivity and instinct for detecting crevices, they possessed the capacity to infallibly alert for dangerous situations, tirelessly transport sleds with cargo and locate paths with imperceptible traces. The Antarctic environmental protects led to their sad absence for more than a decade. Old antarctic characters accumulate the memories of images and emotions that can be caused, thanks to the loyal service of the ARGENTINE POLAR DOGS.

Even though the population of Antarctica is listed officially as 1, there are still many who stay for months at a time, and these blogs help capture what life is like on scientific bases.

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