Reported by E. Isla; written during the Antarctic Scientific Expedition ECA55 (IDEAL-ICM, EDGE project) during his stay at the “Chilean Antarctic Scientific Base Yelcho”, in March 2019
Final destination Yelcho: 64°51’00.0″S, 63°35’00.0″W.
We arrived at Yelcho, the name of this station is a tribute to the vessel of the Chilean Navy “Yelcho”, which led by pilot Luis Pardo rescued the crew of the “Endurance” on Elephant Island in the austral winter of 1916.
It is a relatively small base, it houses up to 22 people who have the help of up to 10 members of the logistics team. Despite its size, it is a comfortable base and has a wet and dry laboratory, two support boats and a multipurpose room where you can make talks or film sessions that ehance friendship among the community.
In front of the base at the opposite side of South Bay, there is a glacier and behind the base a semi-covered ice hill where the Skuas (Stercorarius sp.) and numerous Gentoo penguin communities (Pygoscelis papua) take advantage of almost any space free of ice or snow to nest. Beyond the hill, you can see the mountain peaks of Wiencke Island separated from Doumer Island by the narrow Peltier Channel (about 1 km wide).
After so long waiting to get to this spectacular enclave we were already eager to start, in addition, we knew that the “Karpuj” could not be more than 5 days with us so we had to take full advantage for what we were set to prepare the mooring that same day. As the sediment trap was going to be installed in an instrumented line that had been anchored for a year, the first thing we did was to pick it up to retrieve data, give maintainance and adapt it for the incorporation of the sediment trap, which we could do that same afternoon. However, very early the next morning we had to postpone the installation of the new line for three days later because the weather conditions were starting to get worse, this is Antarctica …