Wednesday 29 December 2010

From the Great Wall of China to Yankee Harbor

If you want to see the Chinese Research base The Great Wall of China, we recommend having a passenger on board whose father was an important researcher at the base many years ago - this is exactly how we, after several years of trying to arrange a visit, finally managed to do so! The base commander gave us all a very warm welcome and had an exchange of ideas with our Captain. While this important meeting took place, we were shown around the relatively new base buildings - and we were all mightily impressed by the fabulous installations the Chinese base offers its residents: wonderful labs to carry out biological research, very well equipped sports facilities, and nicely welcoming housing facilities. We must say, if one could choose what Antarctic station to spend the winter in, this would be it!

And for all of you sports fans that have been anxiously awaiting the results of the First MV Fram Chinese Day Invitational International Table Tennis Tournament - rounds two and three were played this afternoon.  After yesterday there were 9 Chinese players and four players representing the International Union.  Now we are down to the final four: two players from China, one player from Holland and one player from Canada.  The matches today were very competitive and a lot of fun.  The finals will be played at the first opportunity!

After our interesting visit, we sailed past several of the national research stations located on King George Island, and towards Greenwich Island, where we made a landing on the scenic Yankee Harbor. There, we enjoyed a splendid afternoon, watching the gentoo penguins go to and from the sea to their nests; and also a small window into the red tooth and claw of nature, as several penguin chicks were included in skua's dinners this evening.