Monthly Archives: March 2013

Underway from Uruguay!

We left port this morning, so long Uruguay!  The port of Montevideo We had a bit of a delay waiting for a large container ship (600ft) to get pulled out with tugboats ahead of us.  Then it was our turn.  It’s fun to watch the tug boat and trust that even though it looks like you’re about to hit another ship, they’ve got it under control.  On our amble out of port we got some lovely last views of the Montevideo skyline, including the striking telecommunications building. We also passed a livestock boat, a shipyard graveyard and many of the shipping container dinosaurs that dot the docks edges.  The port of Uruguay seems to be hopping.  We followed out a large shipping container but also passed at least 50 more anchored for miles near the shipping lane and out to sea.

One of the senior scientists on the boat knew about a German boat that was sunk just outside the shipping lane.  All of the science crew crowded onto the sky deck (just above the bridge) to watch the scene and spot the remains of the ship.  Just a few buoys out we sighted it, and with binoculars we could make out part of a smoke stack and other rusted and barnacle-covered bits of this old wreckage.

An Uruguayan pilot was aboard our ship while we clearer port and getting him off the ship was quite the show.  A small vessel drove up to our starboard side and the pilot waited on our deck.  Once the small boat was close enough he just stepped over the side onto a tall platform and climbed down to safety.  He was wearing a nice suit and cap, no life vest (we don’t need no stinking life vest!). Very impressive, even if it seemed wildly unsafe.

We’ve been underway for about 9 hours now and so far so good.  We’ll reach our first test station tomorrow, let the science begin! Port


Puerto de Montevideo (Telecommunications Building in the background)




Waiting for the container ship to get on its way GraveyardShip

Ship graveyard

ShippingLaneBusy Shipping Lane

WWIIWreckageWWII German Boat Wreckage

PilotHopPilot gets off the RV Knorr




Bienvenido a Montevideo

After an overnight journey from Miami to Montevideo, with fabulous American Airline flight attendant Paco, I arrived in Montevideo.  Getting through customs was painless except for a brief headache from the perfume and cologne as everyone is routed through the duty free store before getting to the baggage claim.  The taxi ride took me along the coast with contrasting run-down areas and beautiful European looking high-rises.  As we arrived at the hotel it began to rain, which led to damp roaming around town to find lunch and a bit of sightseeing. Ian and I found the Mercado del Puerto which has lots of fruit stands as well as sit-down food courts.  We had steak and desserts, a far cry from the food courts in any airport or mall I’ve been to before.  Despite the rain we did a bit more wandering, stopped in a cultural museum (MAPI)that curiously only contained exhibits about indigenous peoples from other parts of South and Central America. Carrying on we found the central plaza with an impressive statue of Artigas, the father of Uruguyan nationhood.  A quiet afternoon was nice and then dinner at the hotel.  The R/V Knorr should make port tonight in Montevideo and many of the other scientists will arrive Thrusday.  My major adventure tomorrow will be finding liquid nitrogen.  I’ll post some pictures soon!