Monday, May 14, 2018

Denizens of the Deep and the Lawrence M. Gould leaves for Chile.

A popular Antarctic design. After four winters this is home away from home for me.

The Gould ghosting in.

A work day - on my way to check on a remote radio site about a mile up the Marr Glacier. What an adventure job!


This radio repeater is at the top of the Marr Glacier. It insures good handheld radio contact with all boating. I hike up here once a week to make sure all is well. This picture is from when I first arrived at Palmer.

A storm moving in. I found shelter.

The divers removing snow from their boat. Even though the Zodiacs are covered blowing snow can fill it. 

The Gould departing. That is the Antarctic continent in the background about 10 miles away.

The day is shrinking with a 10:00 sunrise and 4:30 sunset.

The Gould recently returned from a fishing trip and returned with these denizens of the deep caught at over 800 meters down - about 1/2 mile.

Pig Fish have been found at nearly 4 miles deep.

Octopus.

Another octopus. 

A skate purse (egg case).

Several interesting crab like creatures.


Yes, the pig fish look like pigs!


The Gould is on its way back to Punta Arenas, Chile. It is a tradition to jump off the pier when the ship departs. The water is 34 degrees f and the air around 30 f. When I was at Scott Base (the New Zealand base next to McMurdo Station), Antarctica a large hole was cut in the sea ice for people to enjoy a polar plunge. There the water is 28 f and the wind chill that morning was -56 f. 

The Polar Plunge at Scott base in 2012.
The Gould departing for Punta Arenas, Chile.
Hadar, the largest boat on station, being removed from the inlet for the upcoming winter.



A sunrise reflection on the continent's mountains.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Fish Science and a Recreational Boating Day

I have started uploading my Palmer Station videos to YouTube. On the settings (the small gear on the bottom right side of the viewing screen) select HD for the best quality.





Artist Karen Young is on station and recently completed this really cool and informative work of art. You can see her work at: www.karenromanoyoung.com/antarctic-log.
Palmer Station isn't technically on the continent of Antarctica as it is about 12 miles away. The station is situated on Anvers Island as seen in red.

Palmer Station (upper left) in relation to the other two US bases, McMurdo and the South Pole. I have wintered at all three.
Every winter at the South Pole there is a design contest for next year's marker. Last winter season when I was there this is the design that won. The machinist on station built it. I had taken several pictures of it but the design is kept a secret until January 1, 2018 when it was placed at the geographic South Pole. Here is a picture of the 2018 pole marker. One of my favorites of all time. It is as heavy as a bowling ball. 
Juliette, a PhD student from France, gave me a tour of the aquariums. This is an Icefish. The head looks like an alligator. The Icefish is white blooded.

Antarctic fish have a form of antifreeze in their blood. Credit to http://wierdnwildcreatures.wikia.com/wiki/Icefish  for this illustration.

Scenes from the Palmer Station aquariums.


This red-blooded fish is called the Antarctic bullhead. It can be very aggressive and bite.

Antarctic star fish.

Algae.

There are several large tanks. Most stay covered as the fish are found quite deep. They are studied and some dissected to examine their chemical makeup.
A Dragon fish. During my tour they were kept in the dark so I found this online.

Sunday-Funday - a recreational boating day.

It was a real treat for me as I am usually at the helm. 

Navigating through a sea of brash ice.



Palmer Station.

Some of the ice is clear.

A massive iceberg near Lipps Island. 

An interesting piece of ice in the foreground.


2/3's of an iceberg's size is underwater.

Arriving on land for a Sunday afternoon hike. We anchor off the stern and tie onto a ring on Old Palmer Island. In this way "Mia" cannot hit the rocks if the wind/swell change. 


Living in Antarctica is like being on another planet. The beauty and isolation is immense.

A solar powered weather station on Old Palmer Island.

We came upon a colony of Elephant Seals!

These two were fighting.

They look like they are getting ready to.

That's not dirt they are laying in. The Elephant Seal is a filthy, smelly creature. 

A tough day for them.



Palmer Station across Arthur Harbor.



An Antarctic selfie.

Mt. Agamemnon through the clouds.

Old Palmer Station foundation. This was the first station that only lasted a few years due to glacial drift. The "new" Palmer Station just celebrated the 50th anniversary a few months ago. The blue barrels are called survival cache which includes radios, tent, food and water in case the weather prevents a return to station. Everyone onboard a boat must carry their own dry bag with clothes, snacks, etc. If one falls into the water you have dry clothes to wear. 

Mia waiting patiently for our return. 

I was at the helm for our return trip. 

The satisfying and glowing end to a wonderful day of exploration.