28 March 2007

Life outside Antarctica

Here is a picture of my girlfriend, Gwen, back in California yesterday autographing copies of her first book, The Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid, which was released by Scholastic Books in January. I am so proud of her, and her work is receiving great reviews.
Today the Laurence M. Gould sailed into Palmer, bringing in most of our winterover crew, and when she leaves this Sunday she'll be delivering home a very happy summer crew, who've been here anywhere from 2 months to 1 year. I assisted some of the new arrivals with orientation, and tonight we'll be having a science lecture delivered by Maggie Amsler about life here at Ye Olde Palmer Station as it was over 25 years ago when she first came here for science.

27 March 2007

Palmer Science on The CNN

Hi All,
Haven't had too much time to write for the past few days, as we've got the Laurence M. Gould coming to Palmer tomorrow to drop off a fresh batch of winter-over folks, and the turnover with my summer counterpart, Phil Spindler, has ramped up. Lots to do before the ship comes in. The station population will be going down to 26 for the next couple of weeks, until the Gould arrives again around 14 April. Here's a link to a science group here on station who are investigating possible cures for several types of cancer, especially melanomas:


The group (B-022-P), consisting of Charles Amsler, Jim McClintock, and Bill Baker, work in the office here across from mine when they're not out diving to collect aquatic specimens for basic research. Funded by the National Science Foundation's division of Polar Programs, this group may one day win a Nobel Prize for their basic research in ecophysiology and chemistry. At least they have my vote. I used to supervise a pathology laboratory, and Melanoma and other types of skin cancer are definitely on the rise globally. In the meantime, try to stay out of the sun by wearing a layer and a good hat, or if nothing else, a good sunscreen.

23 March 2007

Gentoo Meal

There was a bit of excitement here at Palmer today, when a hungry leopard seal attacked a small group of Gentoo penguins just outside of my office. A couple of them made it out of the water intact, and are spending the night here on land. I can't blame them for staying high and dry after witnessing the carnage that a hungry lep can inflict upon a penguin. Reminds me of how cats like to play with mice.

21 March 2007

Good Morning!

Today started out beautifully, as you can see on the left, or port side.

Most of my morning was then taken up with meetings and other things that tend to make me want to fall asleep, but then in the afternoon I went out on the Deep Blue Antarctic Sea with my fellow Boating II/OSAR people: Sara, Shawn, Eric, and Capt. Steve Barten, our Palmer Station Boating Coordinator. We learned a lot about how to navigate the sometimes treacherous Antarctic waters safely, but also how to have a good time viewing wildlife, such as Giant petrels and Humpback whales.

20 March 2007

Southern sun

The end of a good day. We had our first winterover fire drill today, and though it was by no means perfect, we're learning and got alot of good experience and feedback from the summer crew. (Note to self: as a first responder, grab fire extinguisher on way out the door. This will help greatly if there actually IS a fire, rather than the usual false alarm).

19 March 2007


Hi All,
Today we had a cruise ship, the ALEKSEY MARYSHEV, stop by with a film crew from the Discovery Channel who are making a show called Generation Earth, to be shown this fall. We were all invited to a BBQ on the vessel this evening, but the weather turned so bad that it wasn't safe to drive the Zodiacs out there. Winds are gusting up to 60 mph as I write this. Oh well. Our cooks here on station (Wendy and Diane) are better anyway.

Also today, our winterover Fire Brigade here on station began taking over duties from the summer crew. We toured the station and checked out all of the fire alarms, pull switches, smoke alarms and such. Some of us also received our bunker gear. I've been selected to be a first responder, which basically means I have to respond to the alarm panel, determine where the fire or false alarm is located, and respond accordingly, either fighting the fire (if possible) or reporting a false alarm.

18 March 2007

Chewie the Antarctic Cod

Hi All, These are photos of Chewie, a friendly Antarctic Cod (Notothenia coriiceps) who lives here at Palmer Station in the tourist aquarium. I've named him Chewie because every time I go near the aquarium to feed him some tasty krill, he rises to the top, and will try to chew on my finger if given the chance. During the summer when tourists come through station every now and then, the tourist aquarium is one of the highlights of their experience here, and Chewie never fails to ham it up. If any fish has a personality, Chewie is the one.