Sunday, March 14, 2010

March 13th Sheathbill chick update and special visitors

Wow, is all I can say for my next installment...I have met some fun people, seen some interesting boats and our little chick is growing up. 

On Friday we had a unique ship visit us.  It was a "Tall Ship".  They are the larger traditional sailing ships with sails and lots of them. 
The ship that came to visit us is called the
It hails from the Netherlands.  It was built in 1911 in Hamburg and it's original use was as a lightship.  A lightship is a ship that is moored in a dangerous area with warning lights to warn other ships to stay clear of the area.  The name at the time was "Senator Brockes" and was made of steel.  It was converted in 1986 to a three masted sailing vessel.  We were able to visit the ship and go on a tour.  I was one of a small handfull who wanted to see the engine room.  The room was so small you had to hunch to move around.  I don't know how they were able to do any work on the engines.  it was pretty tight quarters. 
Here the Ship comes around Bonaporte point that is a little peninsula opposite the station.

Then below is it rounding the iceberg that is sitting in our harbor.

and lastly is what the ship looks like when it is under full sail.  Pretty unbelievable.
here are some of the ropes to handle all those riggings...

Now let's go on to our little Lesser Sheathbill chick.  As you have read in the last post, we have a Sheathbill chick and it was so small and unique looking it was small about the size of a softball.  It's grown out of it's dark feathers and is now putting on a coat of it's more natural white feathers, save for his head.  The little one looks like a mini vulture.  I'd say he's about a couple inches bigger than a softball now, and whoa....fluffy!

The family lives underneath some rocks next to one of our buildings, but far enough away to give the family some privacy.  The parents have flown off one at a time to find food for the chick.  The Sheathbill is an omnivore which means it eats both vegetation and animal matter.  Which is what we humans are also known as.  Except the Sheathbills also feed on excrement (poo) which humans usually do not. 
The chick will fledge (lose all it's down) after about 50-60 days after it's hatched. I hope to have pictures of it after it fledges, but it's all about timing. 
Here's a picture of one of the parents...

So one of our other exciting news was that we've been visited by another Astronaut.  Buzz Aldrin and his wife visited station and we were able to get a group photo.
He gave a talk on board the National Geographic Explorer and a few people from station were able to go listen to him speak.  I was able to go listen to Neil Armstrong when he came so I stayed behind this time.  Both of these astronauts were the first people to walk on the moon.  How cool is that?

Our next big visitor was just as special.  He's known to many probably more well known than Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
Bill Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation came to visit along with some members of his family.  He talks a little about his visit in his blog.

We were able to get a group photo with him, but it's not available at this time. So instead here's a not so recent picture we have of him here at station.

Even though it's not recent, but we like it because we're a microsoft user here at station and he did have something to do with computers in the world. 

Palmer Station is almost at the end of the world, but we still get visited by many many special people, which in turn means we're in a very special part of the world. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow!
    YOU are a wonder, Zee---thanks for sending me the link to your blog.
    (This is Francesca, code name Fresca.)

    I was just working on a book about the Netherlands, so I envy you getting to see that Dutch ship---
    at full sail, it is glorious!