Monday, January 31, 2005

Sinking of the Bahia Paraiso

31 January 2005

Sinking of the Bahia Paraiso

After my extension here was approved, I wasted no time in getting up on Amazon and ordering some desperately needed books for reading material. I’d been chomping at the bit since I sent everything back home and had been bored silly. I have already read the Ghost Stories from Key West, most of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and started into Four Trials by John Edwards, but that wasn’t seeming to fill the bill. Then early last week, a used book that I wanted and ordered finally arrived. The book is called Crossing Antarctica by Will Steger.

Will Steger crossed the Antarctic by dog sled with his team back in 1989 and 1990. During this same time, I was working down at Palmer Station, Antarctica in the peninsula region on Anvers Island. Oddly enough back then, I was also working for ITT, but for the Federal Electric – Antarctic Services arm out of Paramus, New Jersey.

I had always wanted to read his account, but when I ordered the book on Amazon, I wasn’t holding out too much hope of receiving the book since it has been out of print for years. When it arrived, I almost handled it as if it were a personal treasure. Not surprisingly, I took to this book as I took to Ice Bound, Dr. Jerri Nielson’s book of her ordeal with discovering, taking biopsies, and treating her aggressive breast cancer during her winter over at South Pole. Something about having been below the Southern Convergence that always remains in your blood once you’ve been there and crossed that southern line of 70 degrees south.

It shouldn’t be too surprising then that this last weekend for me hasn’t found me thinking much of the Iraq elections, the anticipated insurgent mortars and rockets or even the crappy mud and rain that is finally drying up here. Reading this book happened to take me back to the 16th anniversary of the sinking of the Argentine ship, Bahia Paraiso one mile off of Palmer Station on January 31st, 1989 between Torgersson Island and DeLaca Island. She ran aground on the afternoon of January 28th. Despite attempts to save her, she slowly rolled over to her watery grave on the evening of the 31st. No earnest attempts were ever made to recover or retrieve her by the then cash-strapped Argentine government. Being in international waters in accordance with the Antarctic Treaty, the U.S. had no rights to remove the wreck either.

So it is today on the sixteenth anniversary of her sinking, that I am going to tell her story (instead of that of the Iraqi vote) as captured in my (yet unpublished but copywritten) journal, “Antarctically Yours…Letters from the Ice” (1989-1990.)

I've moved the text from this over to its own location. Chapter 3 - Shipwreck can be viewed at http://daveinantarctica.blogspot.com
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