14 February, 1998
Today is the big transfer day of equipment, supplies, and even trash between Palmer Station and the ship. Everyone is very busy getting things packed and moved. Tonight is the Uptown Pizza Party at the recreation center for the station. There will be special presentations and film clips as well as plenty of pizza and music for dancing. There will probably be a pool (billiard) challenge tournament going on throughout the night Such riotous living is rarely observed but needed every once in awhile. The cruise was very much a success despite earlier problems and delays, so the cruise people are celebrating that. Other personnel from the station are getting ready to leave friends that were more like family as they head back on the ship with us.
Palmer Station, unlike McMurdo, is a very small and intimate place. Chores like washing dishes in the evening are shared on a rotating basis. Every Saturday is "House Mouse," during which the general areas are cleaned and jobs again are shared and rotated so no one gets stuck doing the hardest job each time. Seems the maid service is lacking down here too, so cooperative efforts are needed to get the jobs done fairly. It functions much like a large family should.
In back of the aquarium labs is a large Plexiglass tank (about 200 gallons) filled with the native fauna. No in-tank heaters are on this aquarium. Why wouldn't they need a heater? After all, the aquarium is outside. I saw several species of sea stars. One looked just like a many-armed octopus, another was white with big red splotches on its back. There also were limpets (Gastropods with a cap-like shell on their backs), kelp (macro-algae), and a medium-sized dark fish that I haven't identified yet. Inside the aquarium room, there were large round vats that looked like smaller versions of above-ground swimming pools. There were also tanks set up to do light and dark experiments. Two rooms were set up as controlled environment chambers, but no experiments were in progress at this time. Throughout the first floor, there were a variety of small alcoves and laboratory "closets" consisting of little more than cabinets, one long slate counter top, a sink, the occasional microscope, and standing room for the researcher. Not luxurious, but enough to get the job done.
Tomorrow afternoon we leave for the Drake Passage. Please remember that all email must be received by February 19th and after that, it needs to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be back in my room teaching on the 25th of February.
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