25 April 2007

Dream Island and other locales

It's been a very busy time since my last post on 19 April. On the 20th we were deluged by not one, but 2 big orange boats, the LMG and the Nathaniel B. Palmer, which stopped in to drop off a science group and socialize for a bit. I went on board the Nattie B. to "acquire" (read: pirate) some equipment for one of our new science groups here, and got to see a couple of old friends who I've not seen in years. That night was spent being a good host and making sure none of the crew or scientists from the boat got into any trouble and that everyone had a good, safe time. It's like herding cats here sometimes.
The next day it was back to normal, whatever that means here. First thing at 8:00 I went down to our medical clinic for Trauma Team training. At this session we practiced phlebotomy.
I drew blood and inserted an IV for the very first time, but unfortunately my partner was Sara, who's got notoriously difficult veins to draw from. She was a good sport about it, and so I let her puncture me 4 times that morning. This will all come in very handy when I go to nursing school. At the end of the day I was called down to the pier area by roommate, Dave, who is a veterinarian from Santa Cruz, CA. He's a member of the seal group here, and he wanted to get some practice with his tranquilizer gun before going out to anesthetize seals. We set up a makeshift target, and I got to fire off a few rounds. Good fun. The seal group left on Sunday for a one week cruise aboard the LMG. They're looking to tag crabeater seals so that they can study their winter habitat use and foraging behavior, and Dave will assist by anesthetizing the seals and keeping them alive while the radio tags are applied.
On the 24th I embarked on a field trip to Dream Island with other members of our Ocean Search and Rescue Team. We needed to change out a survival cache, and since Dream is well outside of our normal boating area we turned it into an OSAR exercise and took two Zodiacs and eight people to familiarize ourselves with the area. The island was filled with lots of seals and cormorants, and we spent a half hour or so hiking around, even finding a cave that had been carved out of the solid rock by wave action ages ago.
Today we've got another visit by the Nattie B., which just a couple of days ago was assaulted by a glacier which calved and sent a 15' wave over the aft section of the boat. The entire aft deck was covered with huge chunks of ice, and the shipping container in the background of the picture below was dented in several feet. Due to the quick actions of the Marine Projects Coordinator on the boat, no one was hurt.

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