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15 January, 2002


A Zodiac is an inflatable boat. Scientists at Palmer Station use the Zodiacs to do their science field work. People go out in Zodiacs to get water samples and to collect plankton by towing nets. People also travel to other islands in Zodiacs to observe birds and plants.

Before anyone can ride in a Zodiac, he or she must take the course called Boating I. The POPs team took this course on our first day here at Palmer.

Jeff Bechtel is the boating coordinator. He is in charge of all the Zodiac operations, and he also teaches Boating I and Boating II. Boating I is the course that tells us about safety and clothing. We learn the rules about what to wear when we are riding in the Zodiacs. We often are wearing four layers of clothing when we are on the water.

The weather can change quickly here at Palmer Station. Sometimes people are out in a Zodiac and cannot return to the station. So, there are "caches" of supplies on many other islands. Each "cache" is made up of three blue barrels. Inside the barrels are the things that people would need to live while waiting for a bad storm to pass.

Check out the resources in the cache!

Here are two Zodiacs with scientific equipment on board. You can see that each has a winch for lowering and raising bottles and nets. Jeff Bechtel is helping two scientists get ready for a trip.

Jeff is showing us a barrel that is part of a cache.

Jeff Bechtel demonstrates a radar reflector. The reflector is a part of the emergency kit in each Zodiac. If people needed to make themselves more visible on radar, they would put together this device.

This is the actual cache at Old Palmer Station.

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