Fly to: Santiago, Chile
Internal Transfer: Santiago - Cohaique
Visa required: Not if British
Time Zone:-3hrs GMT
Day 2, 05/11/07: - Patagonia Northern Icecap
Up early to catch our flight to Balmaceda (Ooo starting to get excited about what lies ahead!), the flight seemed endless; 4hrs with 2 stops. During the 1st stop the plane was delayed an extra hour on the runway, Nicki was sound asleep (she'd obviously read another 4 pages of Bear Ghryls!). Then just as the seatbelt signs bleeped on and the plane began to take off she leapt up smashing her book against the window (like someone possessed!); the air hostesses were racing down the aisle (probably thinking it was a terrorist incident!). Turns out she had been attacked by some little moth whilst she was asleep, on waking she'd brutally murdered it in a frenzied attack, all done without any realisation that we were in fact taking off. So funny! (man, it almost led me to have to re-read the flight safety card!)
During the 2nd stop more people piled onto the plane and we had to move to our designated seats at the back, the whole time we were eyeing up the 'usual suspects', potential people who might be on our trip. I was sat next to some Spanish woman who seemed obsessive about a package of twigs she had wrapped up in newspaper; if anyone even eyeballed the package she'd leap up and snatch at it. Would have wet myself if someone would have accidentally knocked it on the floor treading on it!
We arrived about an hour late in Balmaceda and were met by Yosef, Dale & Evans. Everyone seemed really friendly and Evans offered us a 'GVI' dog biscuit. Little did we know that this unpalatable lump of dry lard and 'GVI' were going to become a central theme throughout our journey! Hey and let's not forget 'Big John!'
At base camp we met everyone else and it wasn't long before we had the maps out and were discussing the journey ahead. For the 1st time the magnitude of the task hit home; we were going to attempt a North to South crossing of the Northern ice cap a feat achieved only once/twice before and never by a woman - wow!
Tonight was to be our 1st night in the tent, our new home for the next 6 weeks (how exciting!).