Day 7 – Friday, February 4,2005 - Travel to Esperanza and Hope Bay The Argentine Base Esperanza, meaning Hope in Spanish, is located in Hope Bay on the Trinity Peninsula in Antarctic. The base was built built in 1952 and the base houses more than fifty inhabitants in the winter. This base differs from all other outposts in Antarctica in that they have their families here with them so there are children here as well as school teachers.
Esperanza Base has historical significance in that it is the birthplace of Emilio Marcos Palma, the first person known to be born in Antarctica. Now that is cool… “Where were you born?”… “Antarctica!” Most Argentine families today are stationed at this remote base for one year at a time.
The barren base is in the middle of an sizable adelie penguin rookery that has over 100,000 pairs. A few gentoo and chinstrap penguins can be seen here as well. The base itself has the look of a barren somewhat lunar place and looks as though living here would be quite a hardship. The gentoo chick on the right can attest to this hard life. There is even an historical sight here of the Nordenskjold Expedition hut, a crude stone hut built by some Swedish castaways where they wintered to stay alive before trying to reconnect with their expedition.
We were all enjoying the scenery of the bay and listening to and watching the adelies when then suddenly the weather was starting to look very ominous. The winds were kicking up and clouds were rolling in low over the mountains. Then all of the sudden we heard the ship sound the 5 bells alarm which meant for us to return to the ship ASAP. The weather was changing for the worse and time was of the essence. We all made it back but the last zodiac in took on a lot more of the frigid Antarctic water than the rest of us in the formidable wind and waves. Once aboard the ship we were treated with mulled wine and hot chocolate.
It was very eerier and ominous when the storm passed through. Cold rain pelted the landscape and the whitecaps looked extremely angry. Once the storm had passed we were treated to a spectacular display of what I call “cloud art.” One appeared to be two UFO’s or alien spacecraft descending on us (lenticular clouds)… the other was nothing more than an amazing display of what mother nature can create when given the right backdrop…