February 21st, 2018
Carlini Station, 62°13’60.00″ S , 58°39’59.99″ W
Good morning, opossums !
Narrative ellipsis – I have breakfast and I exercise walking around the boat.
It was one of those days when weather seems undecided. It kind of wanted to rain, but it didn’t. Outside the boat, the fog played with light transforming it into a mixture of ash gray and smoky yellow. Inside the boat it was Justine’s turn. We all knew who she was, but even so she introduced herself: I’m Justine Shaw, I work at the University of Queensland and I’ve never had a permanet job. I did not understand at first why would she say it so proudly, but I guess the undaunted life of the postdoc shapes your as relations with life, ends up being your life. She was able to get our attention away from the icebergs.
Carefully, she explained us the Antarctic Treaty, a jewel in international governance. No one owns Antarctica. 29 countries, including Spain, are signatories of the treaty and are involved in decision-making processes. 21 are observers with no right to vote- they might with time. Those who do not sign the treaty, nor are observers, have no obligation to respond to the treaty so in theory they could do whatever they want in Antarctica. However, the signatory countries still have power over them thanks to political, diplomatic and economic pressures.
After the talk we went down to the Argentine base of Carlini. The visit was good fun. The divers explained us all the material, the type of dives and studies they perform for the scientists. They also introduced us to their scientific director Dolores Deregibus.
Roxana Falconero and Ayelen Ríos, researchers at the station, told us how as a consequence of climate change skuas (a species of seabird) have been outcompeting giant petrels (another seabird). Apparently, skuas are much more flexible in terms of diet and behavior. For example, they are able to build their nests with the mosses that have started to grow in the emerged land after. In addition, skuas are much more aggressive and they have been displacing children by winning when they compete for food.
In the afternoon we had one of our first leadership classes after crossing the Drake Strait. It has been intense, but fun. Now it’s time to rest, tomorrow begins the symposium of the sea.