Ary Rongel the Brazilian Antarctic research vessel mostly funded by Brazilian universities is currently moored in Punta Arenas until January 2 when it will return to Operacion Antarctica XXII.
The Brazilian vessel left Rio do Janeiro October 29 and will remain in Antarctic waters until March 7.
The twenty five research projects are concentrated in oceanography, meteorology and marine biology with most of the action taking place in the South Shetland, Biscoe, Joinville and Elephant islands.
"Ary Rongel" normally operates from the Antarctic base of Comandante Ferraz which next February 6 will be celebrating its twentieth anniversary.
Captain Joao Bandeira Leandro during a brief press conference in Punta Arenas said that the Brazilian Antarctic Program involves five main areas: atmosphere, solar exploration and its impact on the Earth, geology, education and logistic training, and live sciences.
Brazil first began Antarctic exploration in the summer of 1982/83 with the "Barao de Teffé", which in 1994 was replaced by the Norwegian built "Ary Rongel" that can carry a crew of 78, plus 27 scientists and operates with two helicopters.
According to Captain Bandeira Leandro during this first cruise of the 2003/04 season temperatures were lower than normal and there was a greater number of floating icebergs.