10 November, 1995
Friday, November 10, 1995
It is 0800 hours Chilean daylight, daylight time. (yes, that is no error, they have daylight, daylight time here, that is why we are now 5 hours ahead of you). Latitude is 58 degrees, 19 minutes south latitude and 61 degrees 22 minutes west longitude and our heading is 329 degrees north. We had a wonderful departure for home from Palmer Station. We traveled all day along the Peninsula up the Gerlache Strait until we got to Two Hummuck Island and then we went outside towards the Bellinghausen sea a short way because strong winds from the day before blew the ice around and jammed up the strait with ice bergs, small pieces of pack and brash ice. Brash ice is ice that has been ground up, chunked up, and then floats in masses capturing bigger pieces and creates a mat of floating ice debris. (Kinda like ice jetsam and ice flotsam). We are heading for King George Island and our rendezvous with Copa Station and the Nathaniel B. Palmer (a U.S. research ice breaker) at night. The wind in the Northern Gerlache is blowing between forty and fifty now, but it is behind us on our stern so the apparent wind is about 25-30 since the ships speed is about 12-14 knots through the water. The weather is GORGEOUS, almost unbelievable. We went through the Neumayer Channel again this morning with blue skies, no wind, sunshine, no clouds, and -4.000 degrees outside and it was spectacular. I really question how this will turn out on video and film. I have shot a number of pictures of the same things such as icebergs, and I have been told that everyone shoots icebergs. I have tried to shoot as many different shapes and sizes so to serve as an example of natural art that can be seen and as far as I'm concerned, (sorry Teres and Bob), cannot be duplicated by human attempts at art and photos. The artistic lines and beauty of nature I believe, is what makes it so unique and I do not believe it can be duplicated. People can come close, but what lacks is the true three demensional quality which makes the real object so lovely. Perhaps holography will change this, but I haven't seen it yet. Another aspect of natural art is that you become quickly aware that it is not human made. I have also taken lots of photos of mountain tops and sides of mountains as I want to have some evidence for people interested in climbing, of the types of vertical walls, and ridges, snow fields, and glaciers that would make these mountains challenging to climb. These mountains remind me of the types of peaks I've seen Nepal and Tibet (I have never been there but have seen photos) and I am sure it is due to the nature of the mountain, the weather, and the ice and snow.. The beauty of the wall faces and snow fields overwhelms the senses and I thought some might be interested in their beauty. As we headed out of the Gerlache yesterday afternoon into open water, the wind began to die down and seas were very relaxing. I actually sat on the port side of the ship in the lee and the wind and in temperatures of -2.000 degrees with a sweatshirt on reading and dozing as science work has taken a breather until we at least make contact with the NBP (Nathanial B. Palmer) and Copa station. There are icebergs everywhere and I am running out of film - someone commented today that they are on their eighth roll of film and I quietly said nothing ( Ok guys, especially you English teachers, how do you quietly say nothing)? (I know that Kevin is saying, "George in your case that would be quite difficult if not impossible), anyway, folks. I just finished shooting my 43rd roll of film. I am going to need to apply for credit union loan to develop all of it. I also have shot 14 hours of video and let me tell you that is a lot of video camera holding. Anyway, something for my son and grandkids (I hope not yet) to find in the attic some day. The sunset is an Antarctic sunset that you would wait a long time for. I am again hoping that it turns out on film, but we will wait and see. Sunsets are hard to capture. We met the NBP at about 12:30 in the morning with the glowing of the sun on the horizon. I believe that is one of the things that makes me believe I am in a different place on this earth but extraordinarily out of this world, so to speak. The sun goes down at 9:00-9:30 p.m. and then this gorgeous (when there are no clouds of course) glow is on the horizon and it never really gets dark now. The glow gets brighter in the early morning and the sun begins to rise between 4 and 4 in the morning. The Antarctic circle is where the sun will never dip below the horizon. The NB Palmer is a ship that was built just for science, no cargo carrying or workstation as such, so the facilities are complete with comforts, scientific labs, etc. and equipment for research. Not like the Duke, but I overheard a person from this ship and not one of the crew, say that they thought it was sterile with no personality. I believe quite strongly that a ship with personality and an appeal to the intrinsic qualities of the heart is important for a relationship to develop between ship and crew and passenger. We transferred people and equipment between the two ships at 1-3 in the morning and then departed for COPA station on King George Island. The storm never materialized for us, however the NB Palmer said their barometer had dropped to 937 millibars and they had had fifty to sixty know winds while towing a sled taking seismic and bathymetric readings. No fun In the morning as the sun was up around 8:00 with a cloudless blue sky and a -4.000 degrees on the thermometer, we encountered pack ice that had been blown in by the strong southeast winds jammed COPA station harbor. I tried to get as much of this on video as possible for this was one of the most awesome sites I had seen thus far with the giant bergs and the pressure ridge ice all packed together with penguins and seals on it and Minke Whales swimming in the open areas. Pictures will not bring the true feeling of the area nor will they be able to describe the emotional aspects of the beauty. The sun was brilliant and the ice was blue green in places with an ocean swell causing a slow rising and falling of the pack. We got with in about the quarter mile of COPA station, in the Polar Duke but the ice was too thick and the beach was inaccessible with the bottom shallowing quickly so as we talked on the radio and they were on the beach looking at us with no way for us to get there and unload the equipment, you are left with the only option of leaving and saying goodbye and the ship will return on the next trip down in about 15 days to see if the harbor is open. The two girls (excuse me, women, but they are only 23 years old) that man the station are safe with power, and water and food, but they have no backup generator however, everything is working will so they will be fine. As we steam north now after 10:00 a.m. the weather is beautiful, the wind has picked up to about 20 knots with a following sea and the temp is cold, so in order to be out on deck you need to dress warm. Large, large icebergs, the biggest seen so far, are everywhere. They have probably come from the Weddell Sea having broken off the ice shelves and being carried here by currents over the last few days. They are in the process of dying now and with the water temp at still -1.000 and the air temp at between -2.000 and -4.000 it will take some time. I also will mention that I met another teacher Steven Stevenoski from Wisconsin, a rather young teacher with only 7 years of teaching experience. He teaches chemistry and physics and has a pretty thorough background in computers and computer technology. It was enjoyable talking to him and I soon came to realize he is working with the team that is working with the analysis of real time data right now on the NBP. They are using deep water towing sleds and bathymetric devices and are exploring for thermal underwater vents in the Bransfield Straits off the Antarctic Peninsula and they have already in just a few short days discovered a volcano. He is sending back data to his students and other schools in Wisconsin to use in their classes at the present time. I quickly realized that his trip and mine are two completely different types of trips. He is involved with actual discovery now and is on his way to New Zealand for the next 4 weeks. They are working in the open ocean and won't see much and will never get any closer to the Antarctic area or the peninsula than they are right now. I have been involved in a data collection trip where the data and samples will be analyzed in the lab over the next year and all of our samples have been frozen. I have been a gopher or involved in a research project where my collection is done for future use while his trip is quite different. My trip involved more of the actual Antarctic area and visits to places and locations that he will not be able to go to. I felt a little jealousy at what he is doing and very lucky at what I was able to do. Why is it that we humans always recognize greener pastures without looking closely at the lawn we re mowing on a daily basis. However, I will share with you some feelings I had about the old and youth. I have always felt that I had a basic grasp of technology, where we are in education, where we need to go and how to get there plus how to use what we need to get where we need to go. This guy blew me away with his talk of linux and unix systems, with das and dat recording materials and side scanning signals used in research and how to transmit with the Inmarsat program and how his kids were using the materials. He sounded so prepared for what he was doing. As I stood there and talked to this wonderfully nice fellow, I suddenly became aware of this cold fear that began to overwhelm me and that was the fear that I realized that I am after all an older teacher now with thirty years of experience and this young guy is a lot smarter and knows a lot more and I became afraid that I was really out of it. A giant cold wave of insecurity and intimidation swept over me almost immediately. This feeling never has happened before and I realize this must happen a lot to people in all fields of work where the realization that you may not be out of touch with the new happens and so a decision needs to be made concerning what can be done about this feeling. For some, nothing happens and we plod along, others retire and try something new and rediscover new things to work with and still others stay in their jobs and will try something new here. I only mention this as it is another example of a feeling and emotion, an awareness that I had while being involved in this adventure. I have come to the conclusion that this trip was about more than just research and the collection of data, at least for me, and I hope that people out there in the majority will not think that it has been a waste of money. The human spirit needs the opportunity to investigate its existence, to investigate the world and the environment, to investigate why we do what we do, and to investigate the self and the relationship with our surrounding. Teaching is not just the delivery of information and data but a process that should involve the growth of the human spirit as well as the intellectual spirit in all that choose to take part. This adventure has for me allowed a variety of things to occur:
I have been involved in a program that allows for teachers to be involved in research and data collecting.
2) It allows for teachers to be involved in research in an area of the world that is becoming increasingly a source of information of past history of the globe regarding the systems of the earth; the atmosphere, the lithosphere, the biosphere, the hydrosphere, and the cryosphere.
3) It had allowed me the opportunity to investigate new ideas and methods for not only the curriculum materials but what these materials should consist of.
4) It has allowed for the corrections to be made between real time research data and the educational process regarding the use of this material in our classes.
5) It has allowed for connections to be made where secondary schools and science curriculum can be developed involving students providing services for researchers in this field.
6) It has provided opportunities for discussions about how to get the American public again interested in science, the globe, earth systems and how they relate, the necessity of research, and what should be taught in high schools today,
7) It has allowed for an aging experience teacher to investigate a connection between why I do what I do and the rest of the world in an environment that is very foreign to all but is becoming increasingly more important in the helping us all understand what we have and what we are doing and where we are headed regarding global climate change and global systems ecology, and
8.) It has allowed me to again meet people and realize that although we are all different we are all interested in peace, love, kids, the earth, the end to war and drugs. My mind returns to my discussion with Steve Stevenoski and I am now pondering what is involved in learning the unix and dat systms, where do I go to learn it, do I have the time, money, what does the future hold. Little does Mr. Stevenoski know on the N.B. Palmer, what impact he had on me during our short discussion aboard the Polar Duke at 0230 in the morning on the Bransfield Strait. I don't want to be old, afraid of change, with no interest in the future and no understanding of futures technology.
The sea is flat, the wind about 10 knots, a low southerly swell meeting a low northwesterly swell, the temp. is -2.000 Degrees and the water has warmed to +1.000 degrees. The sky is overcast. The Drake Passage is forgiving today. I want to take this opportunity to thank from the bottom of my heart, all that took part in this adventure with me. I found out that there were a lot of people that I do not know that had an interest in this trip with me. This adventure gave me the opportunity to investigate how to integrate more than just science content into a philosophy of science education and teaching. I am myself, after this trip more feeling, more spiritual, and certainly more aware of everything. With that I will leave now and leave you with one last extra credit question: let's see -- 43 rolls of film, an average of 30-33 pictures per roll. Throw way at least 33% as no good or repeats, George likes to talk.Heh, Heh,Heh,,,,,,14 hours of unedited video, Can he really rent a hall for the presentation for that period of time, can he afford it, can he talk that long????? So how long will his presentation last. Could make for a good lottery. Let me know where I can buy my ticket.
George Palo aboard the Polar Duke
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