After exactly 30 hours of travel, I am now in Punta Arenas Chile. It felt like we flew down the coast of South America forever, and it was – over 12 hours of flight time. That is one long continent!
All in all an uneventful trip, exactly the way to start this first of many such travels over the next year. I started in Denver by successfully avoiding forming any long term relationships with the screeners, then navigated LAX and onto my LAN Chile flight. First stop was in Lima Peru then to Santiago Chile. After a plane change, it was another 4 hours, including one stop to reach Punta.
I was enjoying the view of the flat, sparse landscape as we approached the small airport – the most southern one in South America. The winds were creating white caps on the Straits of Magellan and you could feel the pilots fighting the plane as we made the controlled crash towards the runway.
As is normal, the engines were quiet and the ground became closer and then a sudden bump and the high pitched sound of the engines at full speed taking us higher, not lower, over the runway. A missed landing.
The pilot came on and spoke in rapid Spanish which was lost in translation. I asked the woman next to me what he said. He told me the pilot said they had missed the landing. Well, that works for me!
The next try was successful albeit in carrier style, if you know what I mean.
Well part of this climb are the winds, both here in Punta as well as on the ice.
We will leave on Saturday, Nov 27 at the earliest if the weather both here and at Union Glacier cooperates. After over a week of delays, ALE, who runs the huge Russian Ilyushin 76 flights over the Straights made flights yesterday and today now that a low pressure weather system has moved on. We are hopeful we can stay on schedule.
Tonight is our team dinner and an early bedtime. Everyone is here as well as all our bags. Tomorrow is a briefing at ALE on logistics, safety and ice etiquette. I will try to post another dispatch before we leave.
Memories are Everything