My fellow winter-overs and I left Palmer Station via Zodiac last night and spent the night aboard the LMG. This morning we all had breakfast, and then the ship went close to the Palmer pier so that our friends from the summer crew could do the traditional Polar Plunge as each boat leaves station. Lots of jumpers this time, including winter-over Station Manager Eric, who has to stay behind and help train the new Station Admin., Chris.
The forecast for our crossing of the Drake is bad. Definitely going to have a rough crossing, but since I’ve usually had easy crossings, I’m up for it. We may make a stop at
It’s going to be a really rough crossing. We’re not even to the Drake yet, and already the waves are above 5 meters. The weather forecaster for our voyage back in
After the LMG got situated in Whaler’s Bay, we launched a Zodiac, and most of the people on board got taxied to the landing on the beach, and we all walked around the ruins for an hour or so as the weather began to deteriorate. In 1969-70, numerous eruptions occurred in the caldera, and the British base was abandoned, and some of the buildings were destroyed. It was amazing to walk around and see a bit of Antarctic history. Just as we arrived a small group of Gentoo penguins was arising out of the water as if to greet us. They walked up onto the shore about 100 meters or so to lie down for a break. We also sighted one emaciated looking fur seal sleeping under the hull of an abandoned whaling ship, and one indifferent immature elephant seal. We left just as the weather took a turn for the worse, and carried on into the Drake.
The weather forecaster was right. We are getting into some rough ocean. Today at lunch the captain of the LMG got up from the table and said, “well, lets go get our asses kicked” as he proceeded to the bridge. He wasn’t kidding. The waves are anywhere from 5-10 meters, making it difficult to walk around, or sit down, for that matter.