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Oceanwide Expeditions meets Metallica in Antarctica

by Oceanwide Expeditions News 11.12.2013

Metallica’s gives their first concert in Antarctica on the Argentinian base Carlini.

A trip report by Mark van der Hulst, Oceanwide Marine Services

Early morning on the 3rd of December, two big trucks stopped next to our vessel Ortelius that was in port of Ushuaia, after our successful helicopter trip to Snow Hill Island.

Yet a new adventure was about to start. If we would have known then what we know now… In pouring rain we started loading 20.000KG of equipment that was on these trucks. This was off course equipment from the band but the biggest load was from the production company that would record and live stream this during the concert.

Loading 20.000KG of equipment onto our vessel Ortelius © Mark van der Hulst

Lots of equipment was brought onto the ship by our crane, an extra shore crane and included off course the bands equipment, TV cameras, domes, stages, solar-panels and much much more.

​It took us 14 hours to get all-in place and at 19.00 hrs we headed for the Drake. The Drake Passage wasn’t easy on us this time so after a full day in a huge storm it calmed down a bit but at that time we we’re already half a day behind on our tight schedule.

 

Loading more equipment in Ushuaia, onto Ortelius © Mark van der Hulst

In the morning of the 6th of December, we arrived at Carlini Base and after a shore inspection by the DNA (Dirección Nacional del Antártico) we were ready to offload all equipment again.

All equipment except the bands equipment was landed on the beach in 8 hours, just in time to get the ship on its way to Frei Base where the band and their family would land by airplane.

Build up of the venue on the helicopter platform on Carlini Base. 

The beach was pretty crowded when we wait for their arrival... obviously everybody knew what was going on. So many people from the station joined us watching the small ice-trucks riding down the beach. At the ship all price winners were waiting on the deck and all were cheering when we approached the ship.

After the band and their family embarked the vessel, we gave them the safety briefing and then we headed back to Carlini Base where in that time already some domes were ready.

The domes being set up and more equipment taken from ship to shore © Mark van der Hulst

The next day were filled with excursions, and bringing the equipment of the band to shore. The weather was very much in our favor and wildlife knew that there was something going down there as whales showed themselves and penguins as well.

During the day, the band had some interviews and in the afternoon there was the meet and greet with the band and fans, where also some of our ship crew attended.

Group photo with some of our ship's crew and Metallica © Mark van der Hulst

8 December started real early, as we needed to bring the band crew and the production team to Carlini Base to finalize the domes, stage and equipment. In the meantime we had more excursions and a nice hike uphill.

Finalizing the domes, stage and equipment © Mark van der Hulst

Finalizing the domes, stage and equipment © Mark van der Hulst

At 1400 hrs it was time for a sound check, it was quite strange, to use the headphone system as when you took them off you heard only a drum solo of Lars Ulrich, and while you put them on, heard the full sound. An hour and a half later the sound check was done and the band returned to the ship to prepare themselves. Already the first visitors arrived at the beach. Scientists from many of the stations were arriving and we brought the Coca-Cola Zero price winners to the beach, as well as 25 of the ship’s crew that had a special place reserved close to the stage.

When the band arrived, the dome was packed and all were waiting for what they knew would be music history.  The band played 10 songs and started off with Creeping Death. The band also emphasized how special Antarctica is and how we should save this for the future.

When the concert started, all involved realized that we actually succeeded in the plan… the atmosphere inside that little dome was amazing, I think many had goosebumbs.

James Hetfield and Robert Trujillo, Carlini Base, South Shetland Islands, 2013 © Mark van der Hulst

Kirk Hammett and Lars Ulrich, Carlini Base, South Shetland Islands, 2013 © Mark van der Hulst

After the concert, we started again with the load-out and within three hours already the bands equipment was back on board. We continued until 01.00 hrs to bring equipment back on board and that would take us again the whole next day.

At 20.00 hrs the last zodiac was back on board and we lifted anchor and moved to Frei as the band was flying out early morning on 10 December.

10 December at 02.30 hrs, three zodiacs with band and their family slowly headed to the beach and while waiting there together with some staff, we again said to each other how special and amazing this whole event has been.

We had some penguins waving the band and their family farewell and while we watched the plane landing, we said goodbye to them, told them how proud we were of being part of this and how amazing their crew is, and that they have worked so well with us. 

The band expressed how much they enjoyed being with us and that this was a trip of a lifetime.

​We waived them goodbye when they slowly moved in the snow-trucks to the airstrip. We headed back to the ship and heaved anchor heading to Ushuaia knowing we needed to do the load-out one more time.

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