11 April, 2003
This morning started out with a research team meeting at 8:00AM. We begin each morning just like that. This is a time when each team member gives their agenda for the day to everyone else so that we all know what the others are doing and so that in case someone needs to be found, they can be easily located. It also gives our principal investigator an idea on how all of the research projects and experiments are going.
10AM- The Laurence M. Gould leaves Palmer Station to go on a fishing cruise to gather samples for their experiments. They will return in 3 days. I had Boating II class. I failed Boating II because I never could get the motor started! The best part about learning new skills is that there is always another chance. So, tomorrow I will try to get the motor started. I now have a goal. I don't want to leave Antarctica until I have learned to start the engine of a motorboat. Another TEA recently told me no one is an expert at something the first time.
Every time a boat leaves the dock, there must be two people aboard that have passed boating certification and have radios. Radios are taken along for safety measures. One person radios that we are in the boat and are about to leave Palmer and where we are headed. We radio again when we reach our destination so that the station knows we have safely arrived at the location we intended. Every 30 minutes that a boat is out, someone has to radio in to let the station know that everyone is o.k. If a boating party has not radioed in for 30 minutes, the station will radio to them. If there is no answer, there is an immediate search and rescue party sent out to find the group. No one is allowed to go boating alone. Every boat must have at least two people in it and both must be boating certified.
We went out to Christine Island for several research team members to dive and collect samples. While we were there, I received more Boating II training. Dive tenders not only help the divers with their gear, they also keep watch while the divers are in the water by following the bubbles that rise to the surface from their regulators. Once, the Boating Coordinator, my boating instructor, and I lost the bubbles and with the surf, we had a hard time trying to find them. We circled around and around the area our divers were supposed to be diving. We were both relieved when we finally found them.
I also saw my first leopard seal!!! I could tell by the profile it was a leopard.
On the way back to the station, I got to drive the boat!!!
Around 3PM, several of the team members were weary from a week's work. They decided to take a boating outing and asked if I'd like to go. Of course, I said I would love to go. We went to another side of Anver's Island to the Old Palmer Station. Palmer Station was originally a British station that wasn't much more than a hut. Later, large metal containers were put there as housing for construction workers while they built the current Palmer Station. After the current station was finished, the old station was maintained for years as a survival station in case of an abandon station at Palmer due to an emergency or fire. Now, Palmer is large enough not to have to do that. There are enough buildings here to keep everyone until help can arrive or construction is completed due to damage.
Palmer Station was named after Nathaniel B. Palmer, the first American to reach Antarctica. There is also a research, ice breaking vessel named after him. The Laurence M. Gould is ice strengthened, but it is not an icebreaker.
We went hiking at Old Palmer. Anver's Island is a very rocky, small pebbly kind of place and you have to be very careful. I twisted my right ankle. I checked the stone I was going to step on and it seemed secure, then when I actually put weight on it, the stone moved and my ankle was twisted from the turning of the stone. I fell hiking, too. I am still learning how to maneuver in my new gear. The issue boots that I am wearing are very bulky. It has been difficult for me to learn to use them properly. I thought I was lifting my foot high enough to step over a boulder, but it takes more energy to lift with the bulky boots. I misjudged my lift, which caused me to lose my balance, and I fell about 3 feet or so down the side of the hill. Now, I know that doesn't sound far, but when the terrain is nothing but boulders, it can be quite a jolt.
Our hike led us to a place called Loudwater Cove. Loudwater Cove was appropriately named due to calving glaciers close by that make loud crashing noises as they hit the water.
Tonight after dinner I had GASH. GASH is clean-up duty. I was assigned dish washing.
Glenn is Palmer Stations' Science Technician. I went to his office tonight after GASH to talk to him. I had a lot of questions I wanted to ask him about meteorology and his instruments. Palmer has an instrument shelter in its yard almost exactly like the one that the GLOBE program uses. His protocols are also almost exactly like the GLOBE program protocols. Glenn uses a cloud chart to determine what type of clouds and the percentage of cloud cover at Palmer Station. He records any precipitation and the type of precipitation- rain, sleet, and snow. One of his instruments record wind speed. Two instruments record the barometric pressure- the aneroid barometer and the microbarograph. All instruments record data 24 hours a day. Each night at midnight GMT, Greenwich Mean Time, he has to radio in to England the data he has collected for the day which is similar to the GLOBE program's e-mail database that students complete daily.
Whew! I'm tired now. What a busy day!
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