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Showing posts from April, 2018

Weather station maintenance...

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The other day I got to go out and do some maintenance on a weather station out at the Joubin Islands. As you can see from the map, they are way outside the allowable boating limits, so it was a treat to get to go. A long boat ride, but well worth it. In my previous post I mentioned the Mustang float jackets we wear on the boats. Well because we were going so far out, we had to wear full on float suits. All I could find was an XXL, but I was glad for it later as I could get lots of clothes on under it. It was a cold day.

After doing the maintenance, we went to a place called Dream Island to drop some stuff off at some penguin researcher's plots.

The people I went with are really great. Hannah and Lance are from Idaho, but spend most of their time working in Antarctica and Greenland. Mike lives on a sailboat in Hawaii when he's not working in Antarctica or on NOAA research ships. Another fun day, and I'll just drop a bunch of pics from Hannah's camera of the day...











Dive tending...

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One of the fun things I get to do here is dive tending. After some training, you get to sign up to go out and help the divers. They dive a *lot*, so there are plenty of chances to go. And because we're here to support science, it's no problem to break away from your day job to help out.


What dive tending entails is helping the divers get the boat ready, load the diving gear, load everybody's emergency dry bags, sample bags, etc. After that you head out to the dive site. The dive sites are all in the GPS as way points, and the divers have been to all of them many times over the years, so we drove the boat straight to them.


They sample the same sites year after year to get a time series of what's happening at them. Under water they have markers set along their transects as well as at the different depths that they sample at (they tend to dive island walls). The Amsler Lab is studying Antarctic macroalgae and we had a great lecture on their work at one of the Tuesday nigh…

Earth Day...

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Earth Day was yesterday, but we had to work because the ship was coming in with a bunch of fish the science team had collected on a 3 day trip out to sea. Once the ship ties up at the pier, for some reason their sea water intakes won't run and they can't get fresh sea water into the aquariums on board. So as soon as they get here it's a mad rush to get the fish off the ship and into the aquariums at the station.

Because of this, we decided that we would celebrate Earth Day on Saturday instead with a Hero Inlet clean up party. Sometimes when it's too windy to take the boats out to dive on their transects (the cutoff is 25 knots) the science divers will dive right off the station where they're protected in Hero Inlet, which is a little protected inlet between Bonaparte Point and Gamage Point. It's not ideal for them, but they can collect samples if they need to. Over time, as they've dived off the station, they've noticed a lot of trash that has fallen ov…

Map of Palmer Station...

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I don't know if you've seen the movie "Encounters at the End of the World" by Werner Herzog, or read "Antarctica" by Kim Stanley Robinson, but they were both the results of their visits to the continent as part of the National Science Foundation's Antarctica artists & writers program.

We have a participant in this program named Karen Romano Young here who is a graphic novelist, science writer, and young adult novelist. She's a wonderful artist, and a really nice and interesting person.

She did this great illustration that is a map of Palmer Station and I thought I'd share it with you. I hope you think it's as cool as I do...



Sign post revisited...

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Yep, I'm here! And so are the directions to Ward ;-)



A day in the life...

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I thought I'd give you a little insight into what a day is like here. The ship just arrived, so it's a little bit abnormal because there is a lot of getting the new people settled in. I'll start with a little bit of yesterday first.


The ship arrived yesterday morning and they started offloading the new people, as well as a bunch of cargo, including our last food shipment to get us through the winter. The only other food we'll be getting before winter is a bunch of fresh fruits and vegetables (freshies) on the last ship down next month. Because I'm on the line handing crew, I had to be out there to tie the ship up. It was supposed to be here for a couple of days to offload, but the winds were going to be 65 knots last night, so in the afternoon we had to go out and untie the ship so that it could go out and cruise around until the winds died down so that it wouldn't bash against the pier. Then last night after dinner it was monthly patching of all the servers, …

First hike...

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Today we had our first day off in two weeks. It's not normal to go that long without a break, but due to the compressed turnover between summer and winter crews it was necessary.

For my first day off I decided to go check out the glacier behind the station. To get to the glacier you have to cross an an area called the "backyard". It's the moraine between the station and the glacier and is *maybe* a 1/2 mile between the two. 
It is really rough, and you have to pick your route carefully. There is a lot of stuff for science in the backyard-antennas for various experiments, seismometers, magnetometers, a GPS station for tectonics from UNAVCO in Boulder, etc. But lots of antennas for a ham radio geek like me ;-)... In addition, there is a rec hut and tent platforms that  you can check out to get away for a night.

Once you get across the backyard, you get to the edge of the glacier. The bottom is a little steep, but not a real problem to climb. There is no snow o…