50 Days Aboard an Antarctic Icebreaker
Documenting a 50 day research station supply mission with the Chilean Navy
In November 2014 I embarked on the Oscar Viel, a 295 foot Chilean Navy icebreaker on a supply mission to the Antarctic Circle. Together with a group of scientists, geographers, and almost 90 souls of the ship’s crew, we set sail south from the city of Punta Arenas, Chile on the Strait of Magellanes towards the Chilean Antarctic Peninsula. At the beginning we made our way through the canals of Patagonia and then past Cape Horn to cross the Drake Passage, and after four days of turbulent navigation I saw for the first time in my life King George Island.
For 50 days we sailed along the coast of the peninsula, stopping in areas for scientific studies and to supply research basecamps with fuel and food. Our last stop was to be Margarita Bay in the Antarctic Circle, and after seven days of waiting due to bad weather, we arrived. From there we started our return to Punta Arenas.
It's hard to explain the feeling of being in these latitudes—it is certainly the most spiritual and different place I've been. I have been in both the desert and mountains but Antarctica is like leaving the planet. The continent vibrates on another frequency. The light there is very special—you can feel it around your body. It manifests in many scales, inevitably leading you to reflect on being present and conscious on this planet.