Palmer Station is starting to see more sun, as the ice and snow trickle a path to the ocean, we are starting to see more and more rocks appear on our little spit of Anvers Island of the coast of the Antarctic peninsula.
This past week brought many changes.
On November 15th today was a day off for Palmer Station. The sun was shining, the winds were calm and it was a chance for some folks to get out away from station and enjoy the water, the icebergs, the penguins or just snowshoeing at the old Palmer site which is now known as Amsler Island. I saw my first penguin egg today. The Adelies are just starting to lay eggs. Incubation takes about 30 days and by the middle of December we'll start seeing baby chicks.
Adelie Colony on Torgersen Island
A Gentoo Penguin wandering around in Adelie territory...
I had a few moments of listening to the water gently lap at the shore, the squawking of the adelies and the mighty deep throat belch coming from the elephant seas and the except for shutters of cameras of others taking pictures of the wildlife around me, it was heaven.
A grounded Iceberg off of Torgersen Island
We had a change of command from Rebecca Shoop who is the Palmer Peninsula Area Director to Robert (Bob) Farrell who is the Palmer and Marine area Director. Long titles which mean they have very important jobs, but one of the fun ones they get is to come to Palmer and be the station manager for snippets at a time. The changing of the guard happened yesterday as the National Geographic Explorer came to station, dropped Bob off and picked up Rebecca to get her started on her journey back to the States. I show them together standing on the pier observing Zodiac deployment of a group of people going out for the Rutgers Glider launch.
On November 11th some of us were able to go out in zodiacs to watch the launching of a 7' long unmanned ocean diving glider from Rutgers. It is on it's maiden voyage to travel to Rothera Station which is about 200 miles away. The glider has an air bladder in it that controls it's diving and rising capability. It glids at a specific angle towards a set point that is determined by the headquarters at Rutgers. Then it's bladder reverses and pumps air back into the nose and it rises back towards the surface and then proceeds this "Bladder full, bladder empty" back and forth and it sails underwater like a glider in the air. There are specific instruments in the glider to detect different information about the water, temperature, salinity and current. It will help determine much we don't know about the Antarctic waters. Where are the warmer waters coming from and does the salinity change when you get closer to the continent with the glacial melt water.
The Entourage heading out to Launch the Glider.
Launching of the Glider
Diamonds that Glisten forever...
October 31st we had a DC8 Fly over that is associated with NASA's Ice Bridge project. They are mapping the ice on the antarctic peninsula. I'm enclosing a couple photos of the flyby over Palmer Station and include the link of a picture they took while over Palmer as we had spelled out "HI" with our float coats we use for boating in the zodiacs.
DC-8 heading towards Palmer
DC-8 and I can almost see the pilots...