Sunday, December 7, 2008

November in review: Life on station

I've been asked to say more about what life on station is like: what we do in our free time, how our days go. Well, here's how it went in November.

Our work week is 6 days, Monday through Saturday, from 7:30 am until 5:30 pm. My work time is spent servicing the 13 geophysics experiments running here.

After dinner, many people play cards, watch movies or work out. As luck would have it, November sported quite a bit of bad weather so there wasn't much recreational boating or frisbee. Here was a typical weather forecast: "22 November - Regional Weather Summary - A deep low in the eastern Bellingshausen Sea continues to dominate the region. Expect plenty of precipitation and gale force winds. This low's life looks to be coming to an end by mid-day Monday but don't worry. The next major system will move into the eastern portion of the Bellingshausen Sea by mid-day Tuesday with plenty of more bad weather."

We manage to have fun community events and celebrations pretty frequently. In November there was Halloween (November 1), Doc Pat's birthday, an exhibition of Scott Sternbach's photographs and an open mic concert in the boat shed.























Of course Thanksgiving was huge. Most people helped make stuffing and pies and I think we had almost one pie per person. Before the dinner Phil bartended with a beautiful piece of glacier ice as his drink ice.




















November starts the tourist season in Antarctica and it seemed like we had visitors every couple of days. First a party from the British Naval ship Endurance (mentioned before), with a BBC film crew in tow, dropped by to raid our stash of cookies and tshirts. Then, starting with the Kapitan Klebnikov, the cruise ships came by. The Kapitan Klebnikov is doing a one-month semi-circumnavigation of Antarctica and among their passengers is Alexandra Shackleton, granddaughter of the explorer. She's posing with Zee below. After the KK, National Geographic's Endeavor and the Ushuaia brought their passengers to also visit with us. Although very refreshing to meet new people, it's been somewhat disoriented to see a mass of yellow-slickered, cold-looking people led about station.































Our last visitor of the month was the most exciting. The Nathaniel B Palmer, the US Antarctic Program's other ship and big sister to the Gould had aboard laboratory supplies that we desperately needed here at station. For some weeks she has been conducting ocean transects for the Antarctic Peninsula Long Term Ecological Research Group, and last week she was at her closest, just a few hundred miles from station. Braving high seas and wind that tested her ability to maneuver, the NBP pulled into Arthur Harbor, opposite station. Then started a curious play on Santa's sleigh. On station we loaded outgoing boxes - medical specimens, holiday gifts and science samples - into a zodiac. Piloted by a pair of guys who were about to get wet, the boat went out to the Palmer and returned with its cargo of Carbon 14 samples, laboratory glassware and 3-week old lettuce. I have never been more happy to see 3-week old lettuce. Wendy, genius that she is, actually had some artichokes and tomatoes slipped out to us as well.

8 comments:

TemporaryLibrarian said...

I had wondered about your Thanksgiving! Hope your pie was good.
Love your pictures - I expect to see you publish them - frame them - put out a calendar - something special.

Louise Hamlin said...

Thanks Ginny ! Taking photos is such a fun way to share what I'm seeing. I'm sure they'll be special to me when I get home :)

Christopher Seliga said...

How can the tourists look cold, it's semi-tropical this time of year on the Peninsula! They should come back in July and August.

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