31 August 2007

Antarctic Cuisine

Ah...Cooking. In Antarctica.

You work with what you have, and though there aren't always the freshest ingredients to work with down here, it's possible to create some seriously delicious dishes.

Antarctic cuisine has had its ebbs and flows, from OAE (Old Antarctic Explorers) who brought food down here in the form
of lots and lots of canned goods, to those who consumed seals and penguins, to the ones who brought dogs down here to help them get around by sled and then ate them.

Yesterday, with help from Diane (who in my humble opinion is one of the Best Antarctic Chefs ever), I made one of my favorite Thai dishes, called Larb. Those of you who know me well know that I love to cook this dish, and though the name rhymes with lard, Larb (or Larp) is a very refreshing, light meal that I learned how to make in Thailand, back in 2003.

At Mais Quiet Zone, on Khao Lak beach.

Mai owned a small, low-key resort with her husband, Gerard. In February 2003 I went to Thailand for the first time, and one night sitting at a table for dinner, I asked Mai what she would recommend. "Larp", she said. "Larp, of Chiang Mai. You may like it". I loved it, and asked her to show me how to make it.

Larp is a chicken or pork-based dish (or fish, if you want) that is, of course, made with liberal amounts of lemongrass, cilantro, fish sauce, and the addition of some spicy peppers, to taste. The trick is to mince the chicken or pork well so that the spices permeate it.

Every time that I make this dish I remember Mai and thank her for showing me such a great recipe. Every time I make it tastes slightly different. It's an ongoing experiment. Though we're out of fresh cilantro
and lemongrass until the boat gets here on the 17th, it tasted great, and was devoured at our station BBQ. And no penguins, seals, or dogs had to be sacrificed to make it.

Just added at left: Palmer residents Sara Russell, Dr. Shawn Vainio, Dan Simas, Karen Malesky, and Bede McCormick hard at work making cookies and prepping garlic at last Saturday's House Mouse.

29 August 2007

Lunar Eclipse

Yesterday morning we experienced a full lunar eclipse here at Palmer Station. It was also visible in California and some of the other Western states, but most interesting was that it was fully visible at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. At left is a photo taken here at Palmer of the waxing eclipse, and below is a series taken at the Pole itself.
Nota Bene: On 9/11/2007, there will be a partial eclipse of the sun.

23 August 2007


BIG EYE=insomnia.
must. get. sleep.
will. update. soon.

However, before I fall asleep, here's a picture that's a candidate for our official Palmer
Station winter-over pic. We may do a re-shoot, as the mountains in the background didn't turn out the way we had envisioned. Goodnight.

14 August 2007

Sea Ice

Had alot of snow last weekend, which assisted with the development of lots of sea ice surrounding Anvers Island and Palmer. If conditions stay calm and cold for a week or so, we may actually be able to ski to some of the local islands if the ice gets thick enough. At left is a recent satellite image showing about 5K of ice in front of Palmer.

08 August 2007

Good Day Sunshine

This was how the sun and sky and sea looked at around 1400 this afternoon. Something about the quality of the light just captured my eye, especially after we've had numerous overcast/ windy/snowy days here lately. Arthur Harbor is full of pancake ice, which is kind of a precursor for building up a sturdy sea ice layer which you could actually walk on if it got thick enough. I'd like to hold your hand and walk on ice over to Torgerson Island one of these days, but I'm not holding my breath as the ice hasn't built up that deep for quite awhile, and I'm not a fan of extreme cold water immersion.

A synopsis of current events:
  • All of the octopi in the garden except one ( who I will from now on refer to as "Lovely Rita") have succumbed to whatever it is (anemone, disease, hunger, water temperature?) that suddenly started claiming them a few weeks back. I tried feeding them and rescued the biggest one from an anemone, but the attrition rate has been cruel.
  • Lovely Rita hasn't taken food in five days...
  • My hair is growing back pretty fast. But I might just shave it all off again. It's an easy thing to wake up, get out of bed just wash my face/bare scalp, brush my toofs, and walk out the door.
  • I wake up at around 0330 most hard days/nights lately, then try to fall back to sleep. I'm only sleeping, or trying to sleep. Usually I succeed in falling back to sleep, but last night I didn't and all I wanted was a nap today.
  • All day.
  • TRAUMA TEAM: ANTARCTICA ~~~~Yesterday our excellent physician, Dr. Shawn Vainio, MD, demonstrated proper techniques for stitching wounds, and then we got to practice sewing up wounds inflicted upon a nice piece of mahi mahi. It was fascinating, and another thing that will help out for nursing school.
  • LOST is still one of the best shows EVER, at least here at Palmer Station.
  • I have been asked and have agreed to stay here until October. I thought that I would be leaving on the first boat, which arrives approximately 17 September, but I was asked to stay on to help. My contract runs through October anyway.
  • So. I'll be here, (there,) and (everywhere) until I re-deploy.
Pictured below is the boat that will be carrying all of us back to Puenta Arenas, the Laurence M. Gould., sitting at dry dock in Pt. Fourchon, LA. Basically, they pimped our boat for the ride home.

05 August 2007

A Day To Remember

Hai All,

August 6, 2001.

If you were the President of the United States of America, and received this bit of information, what would you do?

01 August 2007

ANTARCTICA: 48 Hour Film Competition


This weekend the Antarctica 48 Hour Film Competition is scheduled to take place. My skills of filming/scheduling/editing will be tested. Here's an example of what I'm up against:


Pretty funny stuff.

And pardon the blogspot confusion. I'm changin' templates.

Palmer Station Weather II

I shot this video on the 29th, at the end of a big storm day. The weather had changed into a relative calm. Though it was still windy, there was no snow falling. We got bailed on with a couple of feet of snow during the day. Then we had a waxing gibbous moon.