Day 141: January 3, 2008 Punta Arenas to Quito

Trip Start Aug 15, 2007
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Trip End Mar 01, 2008


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Friday, January 4, 2008

Day 141: January 3, 2008 Punta Arenas, Chile to Quito, Ecuador

My alarm went off at 5:45. I hopped out of bed after a short but solid night's sleep. After packing up, I went out to the dining room and downed a cup of coffee; Adam was already there. The cab arrived at 6:25 and we were on our way to the airport, twenty-five minutes away. Adam was able to get on my LAN Chile flight standby. I had a window seat on the right side toward the rear of the plane, an Airbus 320, so that I would face the mountains on my 53° latitude trip up the west side of South America.

Our flight took off right on time. Although it was overcast, the sky cleared just north of the city, treating me to a magnificent view of the drumlin field that trails into the Straits of Magellan. The view just got better from there. Soon we were over Torres del Paine. Next came Lago Argentinto. I had a beautiful vista of Upsala glacier on both Lago Argentino and Lago Guillermo. From there, we followed the Patagonian ice cap north to Lago Viedma and the Viedma glacier and then to Lago O'Higgins/San Martín. The entire way the ice and the mountains were in clear view.


Continuing northward, we passed the Argentine lake district. I recognized Volcán Lanin and started looking for Volcán Llaima which had erupted yesterday. I saw a volcano giving off a lot of gas and thought that might be it but the next volcano north was clearly Llaima. The ash covered the upper half of the ice and an ash flow had gone at least to the base of the ice on the southwest side. I saw a small ash eruption-finally, I saw an eruption of a South American volcano-after all of these years!
We passed over Isla Chiloe and continued in to an on-time landing in Santiago. I said good-bye to Adam as he went off to a stand-by line. I went to the international gates and had an excellent smoked salmon sandwich. Then I sat for four hours reading William Martin's "Harvard Yard".


My flight to Quito boarded and left on-time. The aridity of northern Chile was a stark contrast to the south. Eventually, we moved offshore to cut the corner around the big bend in the continent. It reappeared just before sunset but the clouds made viewing difficult. We landed briefly in Guayaquil and then continued on to Quito, arriving exactly on-time.

After passing through customs, I noticed that the flight from Atlanta on which the rest of the group was traveling was delayed by an hour and a half. I took a cab to the hotel, checked in, and took a nice shower. Then I went down to the lobby, got some US cash, sent some emails, and read my book until 12:30 when the rest of the group arrived. Everyone made it although Delta managed to lose the luggage of four people-that company continues to go downhill.

Todd Fredericksen, my co-leader on the Galápagos trip, and I stayed up until 2:00 talking before we finally went to bed. I arranged for a 6:00 wake-up call for everyone so we could catch our 6:45 bus to the airport.

The members of our trip are:

Sara Ash-Biology-Cumberland
Joyce Baker-Chemistry-Tennessee Wesleyan
Ken Chamlee-English-Brevard
Jo Ann Croom-Math-Mars Hill
Danny Franke-Philosophy and Religion-Alderson-Broaddus
Todd Fredericksen-Biology-Ferrum
Stephen and Susan Karr-Biology-Carson-Newman
Jim Reynolds-Geology-Brevard
Sharmistha Roy-Physics-Davis and Elkins
Kathy Stone-Geology, Math, and Physics-Tusculum
Stewart Skeate-Biology-Lees McRae
Ian Van Lare-Biology-Tusculum
Gordon Weddle-Biology--Campbellsville
Joe and Clare Whittaker-Biology--Pikeville
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