Friday, December 31, 2010

Visitors from Chilean Navy -Lautaro in November

On November 18th, the Chilean Navy Lautaro ship came to visit.  This particular ship services the chilean stations on the Antarctic Peninsula and is also part of the rescue team if needed in the peninsula area.  They are on constant patrol. 
The Chileans and also the Argentine vessels like to stop by and have an exchange of personnel.  Some of their crew get to come ashore and some of us get to go out for tours on their ships.  This ship is a tender called the Lautaro.  They've visited us many times in the past years, but the weather had been too bad for us to be able to go on board.  
 Their crew was able to come on station and get a regular tour that we give all visitors.  We take them up to the Bar where we serve tea and cookies and our famous brownies the cooks make. 
This particular sailor saw a picture of a picture of another chilean boat called the "Almirante Viel" that visited us in 1999,  He said his uncle had given the picture to Palmer Station at that time.  Here's a closer picture of it below...

 We head out to the Lautaro as they invited us for a B.B.Q. on board their ship.
 Here we are getting close to the ship.  It's not far from our station, only about 1/2 mile.
We pull up to the stern of the ship and tie off our zodiac and are immediately greeted with a tour and meat being grilled out on their deck.  
 They served us wine spritzers with fruit and every kind of meat grilled to perfection.
 We were able to go on a tour of the ship, up to the bridge...
 Then down to see the Captain's cabin.  The captain is seated to the left, then Bob Farrell our station manager and Dr. Liz our station doctor.
 This is out on the deck making the most of the spanish Liz and I have between us, we had a nice conversation with the crew.

The cooks!  

We had a fabulous time and are hoping they get to visit us again soon!

Station Training after Arrival includes Boating lessons

Once we arrive on station, we get training throughout the station on where to muster in case of fire, where we do our laundry, where we can hike around station, how to do our dishes, where to find cleaning supplies, understanding the White board for daily information pass down and then getting qualified to be a boat operator, which is by far is the funnest of all the other trainings.  
This is our Boating Coordinator - Lily Glass, she's an adventurer from past lives and we are blessed with her presence her.   She's funny, sometime serious, but mostly fun to be with.  The picture below she's showing Bill the finer points in holding his throttle.

PQ is driving this boat.  You can tell that the area is a bit foggy and possibly some moisture on my camera lens.
We called "Man overboard" drill and Lily jumps effortlessly into the brink.  We all are on the outlook for any leopard seals that might wander by.   
Our training is to give us the skills to pull in boater that has fallen off the boat without running them over.  If you're not used to a boat it can be challenging.  But we get Lily in and we're zooming back to station so Lily doesn't get too cold after we pull her out of the brink.
Here's some of our rules & Regs.  It isn't classified, but just informative.

While we were traveling checking out the islands, we found some shallow areas where to could go up to mini icebergs that were grounded in the shallows.  I had my underwater camera with me and took some shots...The water was very clear as it was still cold and not many smaller creatures have started growing yet.

 Here's the underwater version of the min berg and below the water line.
 This shows the bottom of the bergs stronghold and a little bit on his personality. 

Down below are just rockformations under the 2-3' depth of the shallow area where the berg bit is stuck.

 That is all for now....

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tying up the Laurence M. Gould to the Palmer Pier

Tying up the Ship is no simple matter.  It takes about 10 people on station to tie up the boat.  There are 6 lines that go from ship to shore and after that, the gangway needs to be lowered and then we can depart off the ship.  Here are some past photos, but not much has changed.

This is from a portal onboard the LMG.  The pier has the orange & blue storage containers 
that are called Milvans. 
This is the ship before it gets tied up.  (summer shot from the station)
This was taken on looking out at the Bow line handlers, there are two bollards that 3 lines get tied up to.  Each line gets handled one at a time and is handled systematically.
Different angle of the Bow line handlers
Later on in the season when you can see the rocks after the snow melt.  It is tricky to hoist the heavy lines over the rocks and snow to tie up.
This is definitely later in the season when the weather is nicest.  Whoever is a line handler must wear a float coat in case they fall into the drink. 
This is the Stern handler bollard position.  
This group hangs out at the midships bollard line.
Gould tied up and at rest.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

September 2010 - Headed back to Palmer Station

Update from Palmer Station: 
After a wonderful summer of Montana exploration, Art retreats and an Artist in Residence in Minnesota at Beaver Creek Valley State Park, I get to return to the home away from home and head "South" for the Minnesota winter.
I left home mid September and arrived 6 days later in Punta Arenas, Chile getting ready to take the "Laurence M. Gould" on a 4 day crossing of the infamous Drake passage crossing from the convergence of the southern Pacific, Atlantic and the northern Antarctic oceans can cause dramatic adventures inside a boat with turbulent seas. 
This is a statue of Bernard O'Higgins who was one of the commanders who helped free Chile from Spanish rule in the early 18th century; surrounded by the sculptured Cypress trees.
 Laurence M. Gould tied up at the Punta Arenas pier.
 There is a new Hotel in town called "Dreams".  They have a pool overlooking the pier which is glass enclosed on all sides, which I had the opportunity to visit, swim and enjoy the sun.  The big orange ship we'll take you can see in the background. 
As we were getting ready to "sail" the crew was doing last minute touch up painting while the weather was nice, as the sun you don't take for granted in this part of the world.
We are finally at sea and have been for 2 days.  The sun shining, the Drake treating us gently for our passage south.  
This is a view from the Bridge deck overlooking the bow out towards the rolling horizon.  If you look, you can see my shadow as I shoot.
 Science happens the whole trip, looking out over the side of the ship, I look down and see they are launching a CTD rosette.
The CTD is an electronically controlled instrument used by scientists all over the world.  It stands for Conductivity, Temperature & Depth. The water is collected in these bottles called Niskins that get triggered to open at different depths to collect water samples.  
 The Rosette is extended out from the ship and lowered into the amazingly calm ocean.  
 As it makes it's decent into the oceans' depth, the bottles get triggered to open at Depth to collect water as it records salinity(Conductivity) and the Temperature gets recorded electronically.  
Samples collected are then methodically labelled and stored till it can be sent back to the lab for study.  
Eventually we enter icy slush that turns quickly into pancake ice as the temperature plummets.   
 We're heading through the ice field, slowly, deliberate and thankful for the calm seas.
The day passes with the sun setting on the ice and we get ready to arrive at Palmer.
 When we arrived just off shore of Palmer Station, the winds were too high for us to tie up, so we waited in Arthur Harbor for a couple hours and waited until the wind died down
Palmer is fully snow covered when we arrive.  Now to start our season...