Lat 62 ° 14.15; Long 058 ° 40.50'W

Yesterday, as expected, we set sail at 04:30h am and by 5:30 am we were out of Deception. Outside 15 knots of wind were waiting for us and with full sail ashore wewere sailing at steady 10 knots of speed. In a couple of hours we were downwind to Livingstone Island, sheltered from the great waves of the Drake continuing  through Greenwich, Robert and Racon for all the 72 miles which separated us from Potter's Cove, our anchorage in King George Island, the largest Shetland Island and certainly the one with the greatest concentration of research bases. Just in front of us the Base Carlini, a large permanent Argentinian base.

Within the larger Maxwell Bay, which also houses Potter's Cove, there are 6 other bases:

* Marsh, Chilean, with a landing strip that can accommodate HC130s, an hospital, which provid logistic support to all the bases around the Antarctic Peninsula;

* Bellingshausen, Russia;

* Artigas, Uruguay;

* Great Wall, China;

* Vaclav Vojtech, managed by private citizens of the Czech Republic;

* King Sejong, Korea that seems to have a 5-star luxury structure;

But in addition to Maxwell Bay, few miles north, Admiralty Bay hosts 4 more stations:

* Ferraz, Brazil,

* Machu Pichu, Peru

* Arctowski, Poland,

* Vicente, Ecuador

Yesterday when we arrived there was great movement ashore. In these weeks the permanent bases receive supplies for the long winter, because from April onwards only the icebreakers can reach these latitudes and they do it only in cases of extreme necessity. For nine long months who is lucky enough to live an experience like this, must get used to self-sufficiency and darkness.

It seems clear to me that Antarctica is inviting us to leave. Yesterday the Spanish base was working to close the base, today the Argentinians are preparing for the long winter.

King George would deserves at least a week visit, but from tomorrow the forecasts give 48 hours of West, South West winds, a rarity in these area. 48 hours that would allow us to cross half Drake. Following 18 hours of strong winds from the North West, where we will try to suffer as little as possible. The last 30 hours we should continue to have winds always from North, North West but of medium intensity. 660 miles separate us from Port Stanley in the Falklands whixh I conservatively expect to ne covered in 100 hours. If the forecast that I will download at 23:00 will confirm this scenario, tomorrow we shall be sailing away.

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Saturday, February 27, 2016 By Giamba