The landscape in this region is incredible. The mine boasts that this is one of the purest limestone in the world. All the surrounding channels are illuminated by this light gray rock marked with dark crevices running down it from the nearly constant rain. This area receives 9 m of rain annually, making it one of the wettest places in the world. For comparison, Vancouver, which is considered a very rainy city in Canada gets about 1.5 m of annual rainfall.
We have generously been given a shed to use as our workshop and lab while we are here at the station. As we unpack our dive gear and get the compressor and the pneumatic underwater drill running, we begin planning for the days to come. We will be living at the mine for the next ten days, and our accommodations make us feel at home with warm, comfortable beds, hot showers and delicious food. The mining company supports scientific visitors such as ourselves and we are forever grateful to these hard working people who make space to accommodate us.
The journey was long and was made even longer due to rough weather conditions; we were forced to stay anchored overnight before crossing Canal Concepción. When we finally get our first glimpse of the mine, the spectacular scenery makes us feel like the long journey was well worth it. The living quarters include various houses, a dining room, an indoor soccer field, billiards, a library, a small hospital, and roofed hallways that connect all the buildings together so people don’t have to get rained on.