Oceanographic Support Ship Ary Rongel left on Friday, October 21, from Rio de Janeiro, so as to integrate the 24th Antarctic Operation. They are going to work on research in the areas of biology, metrology, climatology and oceanography at the Capitão Ferraz Antarctic Base, the base of the Brazilian Antarctic Program, and will also do research during the trip.
Apart from the 80 military of the marine, six researchers from universities and study centers in Brazil also travelled to the south. This first group of researchers will be replaced by others who will arrive in the station on five Brazilian Air Force (FAB) flights during the period. The operation is going to take five months.
The ship is still going to make one more stop in Brazil, today, when it will be docking in at Rio Grande port, in the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. The vessel will leave port for the last time on Wednesday, October 26, heading directly to Capitão Ferraz station, which should be reached on November 8. The return to Brazil is forecasted for April 4, 2006.
The families of the crew members, who will only be returning home at the end of the expedition, went to say farewell to their relatives at Ponta da Armação Naval Complex, in the city of Niterói, in the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro.
The family of marine corporal Marco Antônio Veras arrived late. His wife, Priscila, seven-month-old daughter, Mariana, and mother-in-law, Dilma, almost didn’t make it, but managed to say a quick farewell.
Dilma explained that the navy corporal had his 26th birthday on Thursday last week and celebrated at a party with his family. "He is the son that I did not have, but he is going to fulfill his mission. It will be very good for him. It is a career opportunity. I pray to God that he take care of him, and of all those travelling," she said.
Among the researchers who left on the Ary Rongel is the biologist from the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), Elaine Alves dos Santos, aged 24. Her mother, Elizabeth, stated that the Internet is going to simplify communication while Elaine is at the Operation.
Elizabeth stated that being a researcher was an old dream of her daughter’s. "She, at the age of six, mentioned that in a letter. Therefore, seeing her leave on a vessel like this one, going to the Antarctic, is very touching," said the mother, with tears in her eyes.
For those who have already led an operation in the Antarctic, watching the departure of this vessel also caused emotion. The frigate captain Joesi Leandro, who led the previous Antarctic Operation, stated that the extremely cold environmental conditions are the largest difficulty in staying in the Antarctic, a problem that is solved through a period of adaptation. "The human beings capacity for adaptation depends on his needs. You must adapt soon and have normal work conditions," he explained.
The commander also pointed out the integration between the military and the researchers. "The Brazilian Antarctic Program is a joint work between the Navy and other sectors of the society, so that we can maintain the Antarctic station," he said.