On Janauary 2008, I got an opportunity to travel Antarctica for a scientific study with a group of Korean Scientists under the organization of Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI). I worked in KOPRI for 2 years as a post doctoral researcher. Although it is a long back story, today, I am going to share some of the experiences regarding my Antartic trip with the valued readers of this blog.
Our travel was started with the Korean Air from the Incheon International Airport, South Korea. After crossing the largest ocean in the earth, the Pascific ocean, we reached to Los Angelos Airport (LA), USA which was 13 hours long flight. After 4 hours of transit in LA, again the travel was continued with the Latin American Airline (LAN) Chile. With one hour transit in the capital of Peru, Lima, the flight was landed in San Tiago International Airport, Chile after 13 hours long flight. Then, with the domestic LAN, we reached to southern city of Chile, Punta Arenas in three hours.
On the flight, we saw beautufil scenes of live volcanoes and I tried to catch some snaps with my camera. On the airport, the hotel bus was waiting for us and we reached to the hotel. With that hectic 29 hours long flight we were so tired that we just slept for almost 2 days in a hotel. So horrible and unforgettable experiences in my so far journey which I can hardly forget. But, after getting there and taking a full rest I was so excited finding myself in complete another part of earth. To reach the Antarctica from Punta Aranes, we need to cross 1200 km long Antarctic Ocean.The weather of the Antarctic ocean is so unstable that the flight cancellation is very common there. Actually the flight is very rare and cancellation is so often. Luckily, after 3 days of Punta Aranes stay, we got a chance of flight with the Army plane of Chile Airforce. After 2 hours long flight we reached to Antarctic station of Chile. The flight was so terrible that there was no toilet, folding seat and sound proof system in the plane. A plastic bucket was a toilet, all the passengers were tied with a rope so that they will be intact in their plastic belt in a long bench. The situation was similar to army who are deployed for a airforce mission or war. The sound was so loud that no one could listen even we shout near the ear. From the Chile station, by using a moter boat, we reached to Korean station after 30 minutes.
The weather of the Antarctica consists of strong wind, wind speed 200 km per hour is very normal, high UV radiation and so cold even in summer. I remembered that we stayed 96 hours continuously with in a single room because of bad weather. Such horrible times comes very frequently. So, to pass time there is well facility of free telephone to call arround the world, TV
channels, fitness center and DVD vedio library.
Even, we can conduct some experiments, prepare the sample. Some time I watched 4 movies with in a single day just to pass the time. There is no dark in the night during summer.