Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Back in Punta Arenas

We are pack in Punta Arenas, Chile now. We docked about 8:00 this morning. Now that we're back in Chile, the work is not over! Today Uffe, Dave, and I spent much of our time in the warehouse packing samples for shipment home.

The samples have to stay at -20°C during the whole trip back to the U.S. We pack them in special insulated boxes with a lot of "blue ice", which are special ice packs that stay very cold. Here, Uffe and Dave are helping our lab tech Cindy pack a box of soil samples. You can see all of the blue ice that is on top. The blue ice is already -20°C, so Dave has to wear gloves to handle it.

Once the samples are packed in the boxes with the blue ice, we add a lot of labels to the outside. There are labels with the destination address, of course, but also our collection permits, information about the samples, and safety information. Plus, there are stickers telling the cargo handlers that the samples need to stay frozen and handled with care. Here, Dave is about halfway through adding labels:

We have a total of five of these boxes with our soils that need to stay frozen. We also have several more boxes that are not frozen, as well as all of our cargo. It's all packed up and ready to head back to the U.S.!

From here, our group is splitting up. Uffe is going back to Australia soon, Connor and Kelli are going back to the U.S. soon. Dave and I are staying in Chile for about another week. I will get home shortly before all of my samples do!

It has been a GREAT research trip. We got a lot done, more than we thought we would, and we worked with a lot of great people. Tonight, we all went out and celebrated a successful cruise. We ate dinner at a restaurant in Punta Arenas, which was a very welcome change compared to the food we've been eating on the ship! Unfortunately, I forgot to take a group photo...