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Final post from Antarctica?...

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This will probably be my last post from Antarctica. The ship arrived yesterday with the summer crew, the first time we've seen it since June. There are a lot of people on station now, and it seems very crowded and noisy. The winterovers have been hiding out in each other's rooms, kind of shell shocked by all the excitement. The next week will be super busy as we turn the station over to the summer crew. We head back to Punta Arenas on Saturday, with a 4 or 5 day passage up the peninsula and across the Drake. Then a day of flying and I'm back home.



Courtesy of Charles Keating
Thanks so much for reading, and I hope that this blog gave you a sense of what my experience was like down here. I'm sorry that my blogging tapered off towards the end, but as they say down here about the end of the season, I was getting a little toasty. I'll see you all in a little bit, and take care in the meantime...

P.s. Above is a time lapse of the ship arriving yesterday courtesy of our e…

Chchchchanges...

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It has been overcast, snowy, and the wind has been blowing a sustained 50-60 knots going on six days now. Everybody is a little crazed from it, and coupled with being end of season tired, people are stepping lightly around each other here. In spite of the weather, there are definitely a lot of changes happening around Palmer Station. For the last couple of months, all we've seen is the occasional leopard seal hauled out on an ice floe, and a couple of resident sheathbill scavengers that hang around station, but lately there has been a lot more wildlife around as the days get longer. Lots more giant petrels, kelp gulls (I think I got my id right), cormorants, and various other seals. I'm really hoping the penguins come back before we leave. We get Adelie, Chinstrap, and Gentoo penguins here. It definitely feels like spring is around the corner, even with the terrible weather we've been having lately. I guess I shouldn't be complaining about the weather, it is Antarctica…

Palmer Station videos...

Earlier in the season, the Detrich science group had a photographer/videographer, Frank Hegyi, documenting their work here. The videos are up on YouTube now, and I thought I'd share the link to them with you.

They have an overview of the trip down, including the detour to Ushuaia Argentina for a medical emergency that I alluded to in an earlier post. Now that the story is out in public, you can see for yourself what happened. In addition, it shows a lot of the station, the area around the station, and the science that the Detrich group is doing in Antarctica. I think you will recognize a lot of the people in the videos from some of my previous posts.

Thanks to Frank Hegyi and Bill Detrich for sharing these videos, and I hope you enjoy them...

Palmer Station videos

Antarctic rainbow...

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I didn't have my camera with me yesterday when the rainbow was there; but Mike Rice, our comms tech, was able to get a panorama of it. This is the first rainbow I've seen down here and it was pretty amazing.

Winter has arrived...

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The last couple of days have brought cold temperatures, high winds, and lots of snow. There is no open ocean as far as the eye can see, and lots of high snow drifts everywhere. It is really starting to feel like winter down here.


The pictures above and below were taken by our comms tech, Mike Rice, from the same vantage point on the glacier above Hero Inlet. The first is from just after we arrived in April, the second from the last week in July. The change is pretty amazing, but there's even more snow now. The bit of open ocean you can see between the station and Torgersen Island in the July picture is no longer there. As I write this it's not really that cold, only -3F, but with a strong wind the wind chill is -34F. Nothing like the heat they've been having back in Boulder.


Steve, the doc here, found the photo below on one of the servers and sent it to me because he thought it looked exactly like the station does now. We don't know who the photographer is, or when it …

Checking in...

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I just thought I'd check in since I hadn't done a blog post in quite a while. Nothing really new and interesting has happened lately here. There was a big "Christmas in July" party on the 25th, but I had to work that night and missed it. After seeing the shape everybody was in the next morning, I have to say I'm glad that I did!


The main group of winterover people have about ten weeks left here, and are starting to talk about going home. A lot of people are starting to get that ten thousand mile stare around the dinner table lately, myself included. Because of this, we've stepped up the amount and complexity of our glacier/ocean search and rescue and fire drills to keep people sharp and focused. The reason I say the main group of people are leaving is because they've asked me to stay an extra two weeks to help with the winter-summer turnover, and I've agreed to it. I'm going to miss going home on the ship with the folks I spent the winter her…

Weekends...

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I've talked about what work days are like, but I thought I'd explain how weekends work down here too. Most of the time we work 6 days a week, and have Sunday off. Every once in a while, about once a month or so, we'll have a 2 day weekend.

On Saturday we'll work our normal jobs for half of the day. After lunch, we clean up our offices and work spaces and then head to the galley around 2pm for the weekly station meeting. At the station meeting there is a recap of the week, a look at what's up for the next week, news from around Antarctica, and "gentle reminders." Gentle reminders are where anybody can bring up anything that they think might need to get done or changed, things that are bugging them, etc. It's a good way to keep resentments from popping up in our small and isolated community.

At the end of the station meeting, we all draw a slip of paper out of a bucket with our job for "house mouse", which is the weekly deep cleaning of the st…