SPAIN - ROYAL VISIT OF KING CARLOS TO ANTARCTICA

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The King of Spain, Juan Carlos fulfilled a long-time ambition in January, 2004 when he finally visited the two Spanish scientific bases in the Antarctic. Following a week long diplomatic visit to Chile the King, Juan Carlos and the Queen of Spain, along with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos sailed along the Magellan Strait in the Chilean navy ship "Aquiles".

The picture at left shows the King and Queen of Spain on board the "Aquiles" in front of a Patagonian Glacier on January 16th while waiting for the weather to clear for the flight to Eduardo Frei Base on King George Island.

Luckily the weather cleared later that day and the King and the President of Chile flew to Eduardo Frei Base where they quickly boarded the waiting Chilean Icebreaker "Almirante Oscar Viel" and sailed first to Deception Island to visit the "Gabriel de Castilla" Spanish Base, then the Spanish support vessel "Las Palmas" before flying by helicopter to "Juan Carlos 1" Base on Livingston Island. 

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CARLOS VISIT 1   2004 (January 17th) Deception Island postcard posted Punta Arenas.   Price US$8

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The front of the above postcard has a base cachet from "Gabriel de Castilla" applied at middle bottom.

The back of the above postcard is shown at left. It has a Base cachet from Juan Carlos 1 base as well as a sticker from the Chilean Oscar Viel Icebreaker.

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CARLOS VISIT 2   2004 (January 17th) Deception Island postcard posted Punta Arenas.   Price US$8

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Note: The design at left is the back of the above postcard.

As can be seen it is the same basic postcard as the previous item but the picture side is this time the back side of the postcard.

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CARLOS VISIT 3   2004 (January 17th) Royal Visit envelope posted Punta Arenas.   Price US$8

Note; The back of the above envelope is shown at right.

It has a large Chilean Antarctic Territory sticker as well as a cachet showing the Islands in the South Shetland Group.

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CARLOS VISIT 4   2004 (January 17th) Deception Island postcard posted Punta Arenas   Price US$8

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The design at left is the picture side of the above picture postcard.

It shows 4 scenes on Deception Island

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CARLOS VISIT 5   2004 (January 17th) Deception Island postcard posted Punta Arenas.   Price US$8

Note: This is the same postcard as the previous item (same 4 views on the back) but it differs in that it has the Icebreaker sticker on the front along with two cachets.

Later on Saturday the party returned by Chilean Air Force Hercules aircraft to Punta Arenas where the King reported he was very pleased with the visit. He praised the work of scientists and personnel stationed in Antarctica and added;

"I slept only 3 hours, but I'm not tired because everything has been so moving; I've been longing for this trip and it's been quite some time since I've felt so good"

The King and Queen left for Madrid later on Saturday 17th January 2004.

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