The bases of Crozet, Kerguelen and Amsterdam have cafeterias with a sort of pub, a library and a cinema where the personnel members, known as hibernators, gather after dinner. In summer there are about 50 persons in each base, but in winter this number decreases to 20. Practically all hibernators are young, and spend periods from three months to one year in the islands. Many of them get addiction to that lonely and quite life and repeat the period, but others experiment psychological changes in their behaviour due to seeing everyday the same persons around. The “syndrome of Ker” (Kerguelen) makes friends forever after 3 months living together. Some shave their heads or paint their faces with gaudy colours. During the nights a few read books from the library, connect to Internet, play chess, billiard or darts while drinking beer. There are concerts performed by the members who know how to play the guitar, disco, dance, and also, sometimes, love romances with the few girls in the bases!
On board the MARION DUFRESNE we assisted every day to scientific conferences offered by the specialists travelling with us. They gave us lectures about the sea streams in the Antarctic Ocean, the climate changes, the tectonic plaques of our planet, the last theory about the Gondwana continent, the travelling icebergs, the sea pirates who board and rob the ships in the Malacca Passage, the illegal fishing boats, the cruel killing of the whales in the XXI century, etc. Apart from that we had every morning a video documental about the life of the Antarctic animals: penguins, whales, sea leopards and all kind of birds. And after dinner we watched films, mainly French, with actors such as Jean-Paul Belmondo, Alain Delon, Gerard Depardieu and Edith Piaf. After the movie we all went to the cafeteria for action. The nights with pleasant breeze we used to go out to the deck and walk to admire the starry firmament and the meteorites. Thanks to this routine one night we saw the Austral Dawn.
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