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30 January, 2001

The gathering. We arrived from all over the globe: the United States, Wales, Australia. All of us came together for the purpose of expanding our scientific knowledge about the eastern Antarctic ice sheet margin (see project description). We gathered in Hobart, Tasmania. Hobart is a small city nestled against a mountainous backdrop. Darwin stopped here during his travels aboard the H.M.S. Beagle. There are excerpts of his diary on top of Mt Wellington (do a search and find out how much he liked the climb!).

We gathered our supplies and loaded them aboard the Nathaniel B. Palmer while the parcticipants from the last cruise were still unloading. We organized the labs and then lashed everything tightly in place, in anticipation of the ocean crossing ahead. Equipment was checked and chemicals were tested. Every detail mattered; it meant the success or failure of the experiments. This was the last time to make changes for two months!

Then we waited; some supplies had yet to arrive. We waited nearly two days, never traveling far from the ship in case the missing supplies came. We needed to leave because the longer we stayed, the less time there would be able to do the experiments in Antarctica. A decision was made: departure would be at 2:30 Tuesday the 30th of January - with or without the missing supplies. After extending our stay in Hobart, we left. The adventure has begun.....

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