19 February, 1998
Hello from Antarctica! Yes, we have finally arrived at McMurdo Station! The Nathaniel B. Palmer pulled in about 6:30 this evening. I was able to stand up on the bridge for a good portion of the afternoon and enjoy the view. It was awesome! I saw 2 Minke whales, 5 Orcas, 8 Emperor penguins, 3 Adelie penguins, and 2 seals. It was so much fun!! As we approached McMurdo Station, I stood in my favorite location on the bow of the ship and watched as we neared the land. Once we were close, the Captain backed the ship up and parallel parked it. I couldn't believe how easy he made it look! After that, large ropes were tossed from the ship to the ground and the ship was tied up at the dock. A gangway (a cross between a ladder and stairs) was lowered to the ground and that was that! Dr. Anderson, Tony Rodriguez, and Ian Howat are flying out tomorrow morning, so they had to take their luggage to McMurdo Station tonight. The rest of us are leaving the next day, so we will be taking our stuff up tomorrow. We will be sleeping on the ship until we fly out on Saturday.
Speaking of Dr. Anderson, I wanted to take some time today's journal to introduce you to two of our other scientists. Dr. John Anderson is the Chief Scientist on our cruise. He is 53 years old and he is from Saraland, Alabama. He and his wife, Doris, now live in Houston, Texas, and work at Rice University. Doris is the Assistant to the Dean of Architecture, and John is a professor and the Department Chairman for the Department of Geology and Geophysics. They have two children -- a 24 year old daughter and a 30 year old son. As John was growing up, his father (who loved to fish and was a professional fisherman at one time) instilled in him a love for the sea. His mother was an elementary school teacher and she instilled in him a love for knowledge. He first became interested in science in high school and he parcticularly enjoyed oceanography and marine biology. John graduated from the University of South Alabama with a degree in Geology in 1968. At that time, he was one of the first two geology majors to graduate from the school. He went to graduate school at the University of New Mexico. During his second year there, he was asked by one of the professors if he wanted to go to Antarctica -- so his first trip to Antarctica was in 1970. He followed that same professor to Florida State where John completed his Ph.D. in Geology. After graduation, he taught at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, for three years. In 1975 he was hired to teach at Rice University, and he has been there ever since! It wasn't until 1978 that John was able to return to Antarctica (after three years of unsuccessful proposals to the National Science Foundation). This trip makes his 19th trip to the southernmost continent! John has seen lots of changes in Antarctic research since his earlier years. At first, there was lots of exploration work and the emphasis was on the United States presence in Antarctica. Now, the emphasis is on conducting research and science in Antarctica . . . and the Nathaniel B. Palmer is the premier research vessel in Antarctica. The capabilities of this ship, along with the advances in technology and equipment, make the research much more productive than it ever has been in the past. John is very excited about the data that has been gathered this cruise, and he is looking forward to returning to the NBP in March of 1999. For relaxation, John and his wife enjoy fishing and walking on the beach at their weekend retreat on Galveston Island.
Stephanie Shipp is 34 years old and this is her 5th trip to Antarctica with Dr. Anderson. She grew up mostly in northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. When she was a Junior in high school, Stephanie began volunteering at the Marine Systems Laboratory of the Smithsonian on weekends. By her Senior year, she attended school for half the day and volunteered for the other half. After graduation, she was hired by the Smithsonian Institute to work off the coast of Maine for several months on an interdisciplinary research project. Afterwards, she attended the University of South Carolina for one year before transferring to the University of Maine to complete her B.A. in Geology in 1987. She came to Rice University in 1988 and worked as Dr. Anderson's assistant (like Ashley is right now) until 1993. Stephanie began working on her Ph.D. in 1993 and plans to finish in the spring of 1998 with a degree in Geology and Geophysics. In the future, she plans to remain current and active in geology and research. In addition, she hopes to continue working with improving science literacy in education. She has a strong interested in working with teachers, and currently she is dedicating lots of hours to working with the Glacier Project (an Antarctic curriculum for the middle school) and the TEA program (Teachers Experiencing Antarctica). When Stephanie is not busy with her dissertation or other projects, she enjoys hiking, cooking, watching movies, and raising succulents (cacti). Stephanie met her husband, Craig, while she was volunteering at the Smithsonian. They were married in 1990, and he is a geologist working for Shell. He also has a strong interest in education, and has spent some time teaching at a high school outside of Houston.
Well, the only scientist left to talk about is me. We'll save that for my last journal, as well as some information about our day at McMurdo Station. Tomorrow, we plan to look around McMurdo Station and meet some of the people who work there. We also hope to arrange a tour of a hut that was built by Captain Robert Falcon Scott (see February 5th journal) on his Discovery Expedition. If time allows, we may also walk over to the New Zealand research station which is just over the hill -- we drove past there on our way in and there were LOTS of seals nearby! It might be Monday before my last journal entry is posted. They have just moved up our departure time . . . and now we are scheduled to have our luggage in "town" by 3:00 p.m. tomorrow (Friday). When I post my last journal entry, I'll also post some final pictures of our expedition. I'll be back to let you know what happens (and about our return trip to the United States). Until then . . .
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