17 March, 1999

March 17, 1999

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Antarctic Peninsula! We've been in transit to Marguerite Bay for my entire shift today. A BBQ had been tentatively scheduled for this evening, but it was canceled once again due to poor weather. The ship has been in seas that were a little rough for nearly 24 hours. It actually started at about the time I went to bed last night. I kept trying to imagine that I was at an amusement park . . . enjoying a roller coaster . . . so that I could eventually drift off to sleep. It's really weird to try and sleep when you alternate between being lifted slightly up from your bed (as the ship tips down) and then being pushed back down into your bed (as the ship tips up). Sometimes, it even makes your stomach do the "willies" -- like when you drive over the top of a hill. It's a good thing that we had a transit planned for today, because it would have been difficult to collect good scientific data. These seas aren't extremely high (the highest waves last night were about 18 feet, and they are closer to 10 feet right now), but it's still pretty hard to walk a straight line as you go down the hallway. Let's just say that it's a good thing that there are handles lining all of the halls and the stairs!

Today, I wanted you to meet the two Network Administrators who are with us on the cruise. Network Administrators are responsible for maintaining communication via email, phone, and radio. They must keep all the computers running and make sure that the scientists can do all of the things that they need to do on the computers. In addition, Network Administrators make sure that the data collection computers are functioning properly, and they help process much of that data daily. Like all ASA employees, they are also ready to help with "other duties as assigned." During this cruise, one of the "other duties" of all the ASA staff has been to help us with the daily ping editing.

One of our Network Administrators is Jenny Fox. Jenny is 29 years old, and she lives in Boulder, Colorado. She graduated from the University of Colorado with degrees in Applied Math and Spanish Language/Literature. She worked for an environmental research lab under NOAA as a PC Technician to pay her way through college. Jenny had a goal of going to Antarctica, and she hoped that contacts at the research lab would help her get there (part of their research was about ozone). She had first dreamed of going to the southernmost continent after seeing the IMAX movie about Antarctica. Her job didn't provide the opportunity to go south, but someone she met there had a friend that worked for ASA and gave Jenny the email address. She actually applied and was offered a job before graduating from college, but she turned it down because she would have had to leave two months before her classes were finished. A few months later they called her back, and she began working for ASA in the fall of 1997. For the past year, Jenny has primarily worked at McMurdo Station as a Network Administrator/Computer Technician in the science laboratory. She also spent about three months aboard the NBP last year as a Network Administrator. After this cruise, she is going to be taking some time off. After spending a few weeks at home, she and a friend are going to fly to Beijing and take the TransMongolian - TransSiberian Railway all the way to Moscow! Jenny plans to return once again to McMurdo Station in August, which is the very beginning of the "summer season." She really likes working in Antarctica and loves the diversity of people that she has had the opportunity to meet.

Ernie Joynt is our other Network Administrator aboard the NBP. He grew up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Geology in 1991. After working at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for three and a half years as a research technician, Ernie decided to return to school and earn his Masters degree. He completed his M.S. in Geology at the University of Colorado in 1998. After his graduation, he applied for a job with ASA. He was hired, and started working this past September as a computer technician in the Crary Science and Engineering Center (Crary Lab) at McMurdo Station. Ernie worked from September through February at McMurdo, and joined us for his first Antarctic research cruise. He will continue working after we get off the ship for one more cruise; and then he will spend some time vacationing in Chile, Peru, and Ecuador before returning to the United States. Ernie enjoys traveling, skiing, and backpacking in his free time. After he returns to the U.S., he plans to travel around the country, visiting friends and relatives, before he focuses on finding a job.

Our question for today was, "Who was Ernest Shackleton?" Ernest Shackleton was born in Ireland in 1874, and moved to England when he was about 10 years old. He was a member of Robert Falcon Scott's "Discovery" expedition to Antarctica in 1902. In 1909, Shackleton returned to Antarctica with three companions in an attempt to reach the South Pole. Although he fell short of his goals and didn't reach the Pole, he returned home a hero and was knighted Sir Ernest Shackleton. His most famous expedition to Antarctica, however, was his third trip, which was during the years 1914-1917.

Shackleton had a new goal of crossing the continent of Antarctica. The plan was for Shackleton and his men to begin their treck at the coast of the Weddell Sea, and to walk through the South Pole and then to the edge of the continent on the other side (near the Ross Ice Shelf) where they would be picked up by a second party. Unfortunately, his ship, the Endurance, became frozen solid in the pack ice of the Weddell Sea on January 19, 1915. The ship was slowly crushed by the ice. They abandoned the ship on October 27, and it eventually sank on November 21. Shackleton and his men lived in tents on the pack ice for five more months before they were able to sail in three small boats to Elephant Island in the South Shetlands. Once they arrived, however, they discovered that the island was uninhabited, and six men (including Shackleton) were forced to sail another 1300 kilometers in one of the boats to get help. After 16 days at sea, they arrived at South Georgia Island . . . but the whaling station that they were aiming for was on the opposite side of the island. Shackleton had no choice but to cross the island by going over the mountains. He and two of his men hiked for 36 hours, and arrived at the whaling station on May 20, 1916. The first three people to see them fled in disgust (they looked and smelled terrible), but they were bathed, fed, and given clean clothes shortly after their arrival. That night, a whaler went back to pick up the three men that were left on the other side South Georgia Island. It took three failed rescue attempts over the next four months to reach the men stranded on Elephant Island. Miraculously, all 22 men that were left behind were finally rescued on August 30, 1916. Not a single man died throughout this entire ordeal!

Thankfully, we don't have to be worried about getting frozen solid in the pack ice while we are aboard the Resarch Vessel/Ice Breaker Nathaniel B. Palmer! In fact, I'm ready to see some sea ice and more of those cool icebergs -- we didn't see any today! Mike, the Mate, however, said that he saw several different kinds of birds today . . . which is a sure sign that we're getting closer to land. We're certainly hoping for better weather tomorrow so that we can begin our studies in Marguerite Bay. There really aren't too many days of science left. What other types of science, besides marine geology, do you suppose people study in Antarctica? We'll look at that in tomorrow's journal. Thanks for all the email!

Kim Giesting

Latitude: 69 degrees 37 minutes South

Longitude: 76 degrees 30 minutes West

Temperature: +0.5 degrees C (the warmest we've seen!)

Barometer: 977.5 mb

Wind Speed: 25.4 knots

Wind Direction: 000 degrees (from the North)

Sunrise: 05:57

Sunset: 18:44

Dave Green is one of our ASA Marine Technicians. On March 16th, he celebrated his 30th birthday!

We saw this iceberg when we were still in Pine Island Bay. I just love the blue color when there is a pool of water directly over some submerged ice!

Jenny Fox and Ernie Joynt are the two Network Administrators who are with us on the Nathaniel B. Palmer.

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