Beach Blanket Laguna Negra

by Henry Bortman

La Playa, the gravel beach on the southeast shore of Laguna Negra, as seen from PLL Base Camp. Credit: Henry Bortman

The Lake Lander now successfully moored offshore and mostly operational, PLL Principal Investigator Nathalie Cabrol declared a much-needed day off. Some of the team continued working, anyway. Several of the biologists on the team, scheduled to leave the following day, continued to collect water samples from Laguna Negra and Laguna Lo Encañado and to prepare them for the journey back to their laboratories.

But others took advantage of the brief holiday to indulge in a morning at the beach.

From a distance, La Playa, just east of PLL Base Camp, with its pristine blue-green water and its arc of tan-colored sand, looks like a stretch of shoreline you might find in the Caribbean. Close up, however, what strikes you is that there is hardly any vegetation. Or shade. And that the glacier-fed water, rather than tropically warm, is instead so cold no-one spends more than a minute immersed in it without a wet or dry suit. And that what appears from a distance to be sand is actually coarse gravel.

But still, when you have a day off, and the beach is beckoning, a short walk away, you make do. Here are a few images to give you a feel of the outing.

A motley assortment of PLL revelers enjoy their day off. Left to right: Liam Pedersen, Nathalie Cabrol, Chris Haberle, Henry Bortman. Credit: Claudia Perez

Blog author Henry Bortman attempts to practice his freestyle, but the chilly waters of Laguna Negra, which make relaxation near impossible, encourage bad form. Credit: Claudia Perez

The lake not only serves as a source of recreation, but is also the only place around to do laundry (biodegradable soap only). Here, Liam Pedersen (l) and Chris Hablerle wring out a pair of Liam’s pants. Credit: Claudia Perez

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