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...

1 comment:

  1. I love this - You are such an interesting cousin. You are so brave, intelligent, adventurous & more.
    It is exciting to look at all your photos - etc.
    Blessings to you, Cousin K.