9 March, 1999
March 9, 1999
Greetings from the Southern Hemisphere! We are in front of Pine Island Glacier, which is the furthest point south in Pine Island Bay. Pine Island Bay is about 40 miles long and 30 miles wide, and it is the eastern boundary of the Amundsen Sea. Pine Island Bay was discovered during the United States Navy Operation Highjump in December 1946. It was named for the USS Pine Island, which was a seaplane tender and the flagship of the eastern task group that explored this area.
We took several piston cores today, and completed more multibeam surveys. We reached the front of the Pine Island Glacier at about 8:30 tonight (while I was working on this journal). Captain Joe drove the ship to within 200 feet of the front of the glacier! The glacier stands about 170 feet high and is really awesome. It was also neat to contrast the ice on the glacier tongue we saw the other day and the ice on the glacier we saw tonight. Since the glacier tongue is floating, tidal forces have caused the ice to crack quite a bit. The glacier, however, is grounded . . . and we didn't see any cracks at all! The night shift is now conducting a multibeam survey in front of the glacier, and that will continue for a while. Later tonight, we will turn the ship around and begin working our way out of the bay. We will possibly conduct some deep tow and seismic surveys, and we will definitely continue multibeaming and coring. Most likely, we will include some kasten cores in addition to the piston cores we have been taking.
Today was a very gray, dreary, cold day. The swells of waves were a little higher than usual, but not high enough to make us stop collecting any of our data. The barometric pressure is finally beginning to rise, so we are hoping that a little bit of sunshine might be in our forecast. One of the brightest spots of our day (besides the glacier, of course) were the chocolate goodies that were served with our lunch. They were made of chocolate, nuts, and dried fruits . . . and they were yummy!
Speaking of food, I talked with Ernest in order to answer yesterday's questions, "Where does he keep all of the food that he purchases?," and "How often should he restock the food supplies?" Most food supplies are purchased for six months to one year at a time. The majority of it is stored in huge walk-in coolers and freezers. Other things, like canned goods and dried foods, are kept in large storerooms. There are two storerooms just for food, and one of them is two levels high! Another storeroom is set aside for paper products and janitorial supplies.
Ernest also buys some products more frequently. Things like eggs, buttermilk, heavy cream, and cream cheese don't last for more than one cruise. Before loading the ship for this cruise, he also purchased a lot of fresh fruits and fresh vegetables. We still have some lettuce, cucumbers, honeydew melons, and tomatoes left; but we ran out of bananas and cantaloupes about a week ago. Other fresh produce like apples, oranges, and grapes are also still available.
One product that intrigues me is the milk. Would you believe that Ernest can buy milk that lasts for nearly six months? It's called UHT milk, and it has been treated with an ultra high temperature so that it has a long shelf life. In fact, this milk comes in cartons that are about 1 quart in size . . . and they don't have to be refrigerated until you are almost ready to open them for drinking! We have both regular milk and lite milk -- and they taste great.
I can't imagine having to plan for that many groceries, that many people, and that many meals! Ernest is the Chief Steward, and he has been doing this sort of thing for 11 years. He was raised in China, Texas, and attended Hardin Jefferson High School in Sourlake. After graduating in 1978, he spent four years in the Navy. He applied for a job as a cook on a ship, and has been working for ECO (Edison Chouest Offshore) ever since. For 10 of those 11 years, he has been working with Captain Joe. Ernest calls Beaumont, Texas, home, where he has a wife and a five year old son. He really likes working on the Nathaniel B. Palmer because he gets to work with other people that have become good friends. He also loves the beauty of Antarctica, and he enjoys meeting all of the different scientists and ASA staff that come aboard the ship.
Ernest has three people that help him in the galley. Nestor is the other cook. He and Ernest split the meals. Ernest makes dinner and mid-rats while Nestor is in charge of breakfast and lunch. Nestor is from the Philippines, and he has been cooking with Ernest for over two years. There are also two galley hands who make a lot of our desserts as well as keep up things like the salad bar. Meagan is from New Zealand, and she has been working off and on aboard the Palmer since last May. Her family is the provedore (supplier) for the ship and supplies everything from computers to scientific equipment to food that is purchased in New Zealand. Her mother owns and operates a restaurant in Lyttleton, and that's where Meagan learned to bake. Theresa, the other galley hand, has spent quit a bit of time on ships. She has only been on two cruises in the past eight years, however, and this is her only voyage on the Palmer. At home, she has started her own business as a consultant for the planning of conventions. She is recently married to Dick Wisner, who is one of the Mates aboard the Nathaniel B. Palmer. After this cruise, they both will take a vacation and hope to honeymoon in South America.
Everyone who works in the galley is a part of the crew of the ship. Most crew members stay with the ship as a full time job. They leave the ship for their vacation, but they are hired to work on the ship for most of the year. This ship (along with the other N.S.F. Antarctic research vessel, the Laurence M. Gould) is owned by a company out of Galliano, Louisiana, called Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO). The Nathaniel B. Palmer has been leased by the National Science Foundation for Antarctic research under a ten year contract. The Captain and the Mates are also crew members. What do you think they do on the ship? We'll take a look at that in tomorrow's journal. Don't hesitate to send any questions that you might have. I love getting the email!
Latitude: 74 degrees 58 minutes South
Longitude: 102 degrees 03 minutes West
Temperature: -12.2 degrees C
Barometer: 975.6 mb
Wind Speed: 28.3 knots
Wind Direction: 114 (from the Southeast)
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