Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Thick phytoplankton water!

I had talked back before Christmas about how the water was changing color here and how it was due to the ice cover protecting the phytoplankton.  Well today we had the chance to go see how this has affected the sampling out at stations B and E.  Our sample depths are determined by the passage of light down into the water column on that specific day.  The deepest depth that we take is down as far as 0.5% of the light measured at the surface and is transmitted through the water column.  We started sampling earlier in the season to as deep as 90 meters out at station E and our deepest depth today was 14 meters.  That is how much growth has happened out at these stations since the beginning of the season.  But before the ice came in the lowest depth at E was 60 meters.  Having been covered by ice for twenty days increased the organic growth, mostly phytoplankton, causing the passage of light to be greatly reduced thus is bringing our lowest depth to 14 meters.  The rapid growth of a bloom due to environmental conditions is a very exciting thing to observe.  

Monday, December 26, 2005

Back to station sampling!

We are finally getting back on the sampling track here. The Gould came and picked up some great people to bring them back to Punta Arenas. It was sad, but we all kept our heads up and a lot of us jumped off the pier to give our best wishes to our friends. As sad as this leaving was it opened up some new opportunities for us. The boats exit from Palmer randomly signaled the winds to start moving the ice out. By afternoon we have enough ice out of the way to sample from station B, with a little pushing of some ice blocks. This was the first time we have sampled from a station in the harbor in ten days; yep that is what happens with the weather down here. Never expect anything! The ice continued to clear and on Christmas morning Santa delivered a perfectly clear station E. Now it was Christmas, and we all took that into account but we had not sampled from station E in 20 days. There is always too good of a chance for the wind to switch direction and leaves us without samples from E for another 20 days. So we went. It was beautiful.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!
We had a great Christmas here on the station. We started the day off with a quick sampling of the ice freed Station E. But soon after that we were enjoying gift exchange and an all out fun gathering. We ate homemade truffles, drank hot buttered rum, told stories and opened wonderful handmade presents. All together it has been an unforgettable Christmas. I miss my family but it was still a great day.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Ice Ice and Tons of Phytoplankton

The ice has brought us a booming bloom. The phytoplankton are taking advantage of the calm water to grow. Looking out from the pier you can see the brownish green cloud in the water formed since the ice blew in providing shelter for the organisms helping their population explode. Phytoplankton need nutrients and sun to live. Under the ice they have both with no mixing and churning to slow the growth rate. Now we have a nice soup for the first twenty feet of surface water. After the ice clears we will be able to see what long term effect this has caused on the local aquatic environment.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ice bound again.

Since we only made it to Station B yesterday the goal for today was to get out to E and finish the series of samples (this is because we are trying to relate changes between the two).  But last night the ice came in.  At this point in time I thought that all of the ice was gone but to my dismay, the wind brought back loads of brash ice and some large icebergs.  Today was utilized in finishing up sample analysis from yesterday, running an isotope experiment, and starting a grazing experiment.  

Normal sampling for us includes collection of water at specified depths and analyzing them for dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), dimethylsulfide (DMS), dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), chlorophyll pigments and chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM).  Experiments that show how these compounds behave under specific conditions are in addition to these measurements.  

DMSP is important to our study because it an organic sulfur compound that is produced by phytoplankton most likely as a cryoprotectant.  What this means is that DMSP might help protect the phytoplankton’s tissue during periods of freezing.  This compound is also suspected of having antioxidant properties, helping protect tissue against oxidation compounds like hydroxyl radicals.  

DMSP is the precursor of DMS.  It is not fully understood why phytoplankton break down DMSP into DMS, but we observe it regularly.  The importance of DMS is that it breaks down under different circumstances to become a sulfate aerosol which acts as a cloud condensation nuclei.  What this means is that the more DMS that is produced, potentially, more clouds will be formed.  This is one of the most important focuses of our studies.  We are most interested in the biogeochemical organic sulfur cycle to see how exactly sulfur effects our environment, and how t is transferring from one place to the other.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Windy Sampling

When your schedule is disrupted by storms, like we saw yesterday, you jump at the chance to make up the sampling. Today the Winds slowed down to a steady 20 knots and only gusting to 25, so we jumped out in the zodiacs to grab our samples. Keep in mind that 20 knots is the limit for allowing zodiacs to go out with gusts not to reach above 25. So we were just at the line.

For this trip out we took an extra set of hands (John Dacey) to help drive the boat into the wind while Kerry and I do the sampling. This is totally necessary once we reach station B due to the benthic topography. We were headed out to Station E with a big white line across the horizon. As we got a little closer we could see that Station E was completely obstructed by thick brash ice and we had to turn around.

Sampling at Station B made us very happy that we had brought John to steady the boat. We stopped on station, swapped drivers and changed some of the positions of our gear. Within this 3min period we had drifted 500 ft. The wind and waves made every aspect of the sampling event an adventure. The boat is rocking and the person tending the Go Flo bottles legs’ are dipping in and out of the water, while waves are inviting themselves into your lap. This sampling was a bit on the hairy side but was a lot of fun to experience.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Sampling Woes

The weather took a turn for the worst last night.  The wind picked up and was howling.  At about five this morning Kerry was abruptly awoken with the sensation of cold water on her face.  A couple seconds later she was fully awake, shocked into consciousness by cold rain pelting her in the face.  The wind was gusting up to 50 knots and rain was filling the sky.  We have a tendency to fall asleep with the window open due to there being only one temperature for the entire floor in the building we sleep in.  So the high velocity rain was forcing its way in through the top of our window and had started to soak our bed.  Kerry jumped up and closed the window.  Shivering, she jumped off the bed and dried off with a towel.  Looking out into the harbor I could see that the water had taken on a whole new personality.  Waves were reaching as high as three feet, a total 180 from most mornings here. The most amazing aspect of this is that the waves were moving in the direction opposite of tidal flow.  It was crazy to watch waves forming away from the shore.

Well the real reason that I told this story was to show the kind of event that would keep us from sampling.  Ya, there was no chance that we were going to head out into this weather to sample today.  This allowed us one more day to try and get caught up with our samples.  True, we have not yet totally excavated ourselves from our built up workload, but we are very close.  Two of our GC’s are now functioning perfectly and we are keeping them working at all hours possible.  We are pulling shifts to keep things running; this is allowing the “off” person to get some much deserved “me-time”.  Things are really great right now, and I even had time today to get back to the RAD VAN.  

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Seasons Feelings!

The weather here has been so extremely abnormal that everyone who has been here before is commenting on it regularly. Yesterday we had a stupendous morning. The Temperature was up around 40 and the sun was intense, the regulars started up their normal inquisitive banter about global warming. But by afternoon the clouds had rolled in and the temperature dropped quickly, snow started to fall and all were delighted to see a more typical weather pattern. For me there was a deeper feeling of finally setting the mood for the season. In New York and the east coast I understand that there have been a couple storms so far and the snow might not be sticking around yet but it is definitely obvious that the winter and Christmas season are upon you. To my delight I awoke to find that about 4 inches of soft powder had collect and was now beautifully coating everything. I am starting to get the seasons feeling. We also set up our Christmas tree on this wonderful day.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Check out our boating range. Now that I have had about two minutes to think about things other than “how we are going to get this stuff done in time?”, I realized that I have been talking about our stations without having shown any maps or photos. David Huang has put together a great bathymetry map and laid the boating limits map over it. Go to the boating MapThis shows us good places to sample safely without dragging our Go Flo bottles on the sea floor. Here you can see that Station B is very close to Palmer station and Station E is way out at the end of our allowed boating Zone. What this means is on any day that the weather permits we are allowed to travel out to this point but not beyond. With special permission, due to scientific needs, traveling beyond the boating limit is allowable. This line is set up mostly for the ability to respond to accidental tip-overs, engine trouble and in the event of ice blocking the passage back. Within the two mile limit there are emergency caches that are located in random locations and there is one outside the limits. This seemed very small when I was first introduced to the idea but since going out sampling I have realized that the limits are very reasonable considering that it takes us at least 15 minutes to get out to station E.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Game ON!

Things are really starting to work. I have finally gotten our Gas Chromatograph (GC) running in a reproducible manor. WOO HOO! This is the biggest relief ever. Samples were piling up and pressure was following suit. Malfunctioning equipment does not help with team moral. But the tides have turned (knock on wood) this evening. I had great success in calibrating the main GC and I was able to run our most important samples. Life is good now. As long as I can keep the GC in good operating condition, we will have no problems keeping up with the workload.

Other good news is that we were able to sample from both stations today. We have been sampling on Monday from station E and then on to station B on Tuesday. We then have to do the same thing on Thursday to cover two days a week in both stations. It can take up to two hours to get fully prepared to head out to sample. 2 hours x 4 days = way too much wasted time. Sampling two stations per day is extremely helpful due to the decreased amount of time involved in preparation.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Let’s talk about Sheathbills.  These very cool but gross birds are hated by a lot of people down here, especially the “birders”.  Birders are the people who are down here to study the lifecycles of the birds and penguins.  The problem with these birds is that they are fearless and disgusting all at once.  I have really liked these birds up until today when I found out where they got their nickname.  Today there was too much ice in the bay to set our Zodiacs in at our regular launch so we had to put in on the other side next to our outflow.  This is a place that we all avoid at all costs.  Well there were about ten “S!$@ Chickens” picking debris out of the water and eating it.  Yes, it was totally gross.  So the reason that people hate these birds is that they will not leave us alone.  They will dive-bomb us, hover over us or just plain follow, looking for us to drop something.  And knowing the kind of places that they hang out in you don’t want any part of them touching you.  These scavengers are also known as the preening crew for the elephant seals; they clear the nostrils of these huge beasts.  Yep, gross animals.  I have a different view of them now.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Here comes the LMG! (again)

The LMG is coming again! The Laurence M. Gould has been fixed at port in Punta Arenas. Both engines have been rebuilt and all possible issues have been explored. After completion the ship was loaded with new freashies and sent on its way with all of the things that we have been waiting for. Now, this morning, the LMG was supposed to arrive at 0800 but it has hit some pretty thick ice which has only slowed its progression, not stopped. So we will hopefully see the boat here at 1300. It will be good to see the LMG but no one is holding their breath.

Monday, November 28, 2005

New people arrive

The Clipper Adventurer was the first non-NSF vessel since 1997 to be allowed to dock at the pier at Palmer station.  We have been expecting our scientists and other staff for three weeks, but somehow the ice thought it was a good idea to build up all night and then into the next morning.  All spawned by the retched northern winds.  The ice makes it impossible to get our Zodiacs out to receive our most precious passengers that have crossed the Drake Passage three times in a row.  Therefore the Clipper was not surprised that the head of NSF had no objections to allowing his boat to tie up at our pier.  Everyone was totally impressed by this ships agility and speed of taking port.  Our new people are here!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Yesterday was Thanksgiving for us.

Yesterday was our thanksgiving feast day.  It was amazing!  First there are only 36 people left on station.  The amazing quantity of preparation that goes into a meal like this just blows my mind.  Our two chefs roasted 5 turkeys and baked 33 pies.  Quite a bit of help came from those here that have favorites or just love to cook.  This greatly increased the ability to overeat.  The food here is always great but last night the variety of foods, vegetarian and regular, was amazing.  There was so much to try; I ended up inflicting more pain upon my body than I ever had at Thanksgiving Dinner.  

Wish us luck our late arrivals should be showing up tomorrow on the Clipper Adventurer, but right now we are iced in and the captain does not like ice.  This is the third time that these people will have crossed the Drake Passage.  I hear that they have had mostly good rides.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

just a wish for you

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are short handed!

We are short handed now.  It is just Kerry and myself.  Paty Matrai lucked out and jumped aboard the Clipper Adventurer, a beautiful cruise ship that was coming through the area and traded rides for a couple of our stranded scientists for a tour of the station for its 190 passengers.  This was a great experience for both sides of the deal.  We were able to talk with people about what it is we are doing here and they were able to learn about a program that does not get much attention.  So now our schedule is much different and we are stretched to the end of our capabilities, but we are still having fun.  
Our day in a nutshell runs like this. We have been getting up at 530 to hit the gym and wake up, but more recently that has been a luxury that we could not afford.  Then on to the lab at about 700 where we start organizing and processing samples left over from the day before.  As sampling time gets closer we switch over into prepping to go out in the Zodiac, this would not seem to be that big of a deal but you have to remember everything you could possibly need, including cameras and some food.  We head out to our first station about 1100 in the morning and collect out depth profile samples.  This takes us about 2 hrs per station.  Lately we have been  only able to sample one station per day.  Our scope is two extreme stations.  One is called Station B and it is located within a quarter mile of Palmer Station.  It is relatively shallow at a max depth of 65 meters.  Station B supplies growth earlier in the season because of its deptha dn location.  The other Station is E, located about 2 miles from Palmer.  This stations unique aspect is its depth at 165 meters and more a continuously harsher wind pattern.  Station E will bloom late in the season and will show different outcomes and activity.  After sampling our stations we head back and Kerry starts her long day preparing samples.  This process takes about four to six hours, filtering, basifying, acidifying, measuring, pouring, it goes on and on.  During this period I get the equipment functioning and start preparing for samples from Kerry and start setting up my isotope experiments down in the RAD VAN.  We are almost always still at it until about 2300.  It all starts again the next morning at 0530.  Well it is keeping us on our toes.  That is for sure.  

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Finally Sampling

So back on the 17th I had mentioned that the ice blew out in an overnight storm.  This gave us the chance to finally get out to one of the closest stations (B) to gather some samples from our depths of interest.  This was quite an experience with the winds gusting up to 25 knots and at a steady 15 knots.  The air was about 15°F but the wind was pounding us continuously for two hours.  The cold is extremely emphasized when you are sampling seawater and your hand and clothes are soaking wet.  We were very lucky to have packed many hand warmers, we did not hesitate to break those bears out.  The wind was so intense that it did not just cause issues for us staying warm but Kerry and I also had a heck of a time keeping ourselves on station.  Continuously running the motor is not my favorite way to ensure that we are in place so we kept back tracking.  We started to realize that our motion has been bringing us out of a deep location and into an area where we could possible be dragging one, possibly two, of our $4000 GoFlo bottles on the bottom.  (A Go-Flo sampling bottle is a plastic hollow tube with rotating valve ends that close when they are triggered with a solid brass weight.  The bottle is then lifted from depth to be collected for analysis.)  Our Zodiac is a new rig that has never been taken out before and on this trip we found that we were missing some important equipment, a depth finder.  This means that we would not know if we were in the shallow area.  We could not attempt to sample under these conditions.  So we traded boats with our cohorts from Maria Vernet’s lab and commandeered one of the awesome lab techs from her lab, Austin. He was a tremendous help leading us through our very first time collecting depth samples on a zodiac.  We are used to sampling on large ships but this 15ft zodiac is a little more precarious.  


Waste is one of the most important aspects of having a station in Antarctica.  This unique environment provides us with a superb stage for performing research that will hopefully reveal modes of operation in atmospheric chemistry.  We can use this so we can better understand how to fix the damage we have already caused and stop further global deterioration. The Antarctic Conservation Act is very strict about preserving the conditions in Antarctica.  What this law states is that there can be no effects left by man on any part of Antarctica.  This means no interacting with animals other than observation, no species can be introduced here, nothing can be removed and especially waste is highly regulated.  Everything must be sorted for return to South America, wood, glass, paper, plastic and organic waste.  Reasoning for collection of organic waste is due to accidental release of seeds, vegetable matter, soaps, and especially chemicals.  Yes there are chemicals in foods that are not allowed to be released into the Antarctic soils and water.  Our sewage processes all drain water to ensure no passage of these compounds.  Waste is very complicated and of the utmost importance.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Environmental station?

I received this comment the other day and somehow it did not go through correctly.  If some of you have out in Anonymous comments and they have not gotten posted, this might be due to the Anonymous function.  This one was luckily mailed to me, but extremely late.  I am sorry about that.

George - I'm curious as to how Palmer station gets its power and how
Environmentally friendly it is.

This is an extremely good question.  I had to ask about this because there are not any obvious signs around the station.  We produce all of our power by diesel fuel.  This is not an environmentally friendly form of power production but currently friendly forms of energy are not stable enough to sustain human life in Antarctica.  I submitted that this was a very backward relationship.  “We are down here to study how we can repair the damage that we have inflicted upon the earth while we are at the same time we are supplementing the problem.”  I was told that our impact down here is extremely minimal.  After a little thought it occurred to me that we are a small station of a maximum of 42 people living here in the summer.  Plus all of the people here are extreme conversationalists that make every effort to use the minimum of electricity.  I am also assured that the station does not use near the quantity of resources that the same number of people do on average in the US.  This is due to the quality of structures, insulation and management of resource use.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The LMG has left the Building!

So the LMG has left the building!  The ship traversed up to King George’s Island and was hanging out at the Chilean base where they, and ourselves, were waiting to find out if the plane from Rothera was going to make a visit.  They could not.  Due to weather in the morning at Rothera then when that cleared the storm had reached us and the last possible window was closed by the lingering storm that covered both us and King George’s Island.  That was the end of our chances for our needs to be met and it slipped away in the schedule of the LMG’s much needed repairs.  Well the ship is now almost three days distance away and we woke up to an amazing thing.  The ice is totally gone out of our harbor.  Guess that is Murphy’s Law for you (anything can go wrong, it will).  Well I caught a photo of the LGM stuck in the ice.  Check it out in my gallery.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

No LMG for us!

Sorry for that pause.  We had a very busy day with a new experiment (which I will explain in a comment for those of you who would like to read it).  We also had some issues with the LMG (Lawrence M. Gould).  The ship, bringing new people, much needed gear, freshies, mail, and not to forget to mention to bring home all of the people that are scheduled to get back to their lives, could not push its way through.  The LMG was short one engine and the ice is abnormally thick.  So the administration here got to work on alternatives to receive our gear and return our people.  This made for a very busy and distracting day, every hour or so an announcement would come over the “all call” saying “We have found a cruise ship in the area, we are trying to contact them and see if they can help.”   These type of updates continued all day until finally the LMG had worked its way out of the ice and was back in open water.  This opened the scheme of alternatives up much wider.  Now the plan was to ask the British base at Rothera to fly our team and good out to King Georges Island and meet up with the LMG to bring back personnel and our most important selection of our gear.  We are still waiting to find out what is going to happen…  1600 this evening.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Ship ahoy!

Today the Lawrence M. Gould should be coming back into station.  The arrival time has been a subject of great speculation due to the engine that failed on our crossing of the Drake has failed again.  The reason that it is more of an issue on this run is because the winds here have brought in a huge amount of small icebergs.  The Captain sounds sure that he will be able to successfully navigate the treacherous blocks, but I still have my doubts about the ship actually making it here.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Comments Please!

So I have not been getting any comments on this blog.  I have gotten a few emails for photos and I took care of those right away.  I like being able to convey good information and photos that people want to see but I need more feedback.  If you would like to have more information on the social life here or the science that is happening, things like the weather and events that we are celebrating just give me the word.  Comments are available to everyone.  Press the comment icon and leave a comment or a question.  It is way easy!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Iron Time

Working out has been on the back burner for a long time.  We have two weeks invested in getting organized in the lab and adjusting our lifestyles to fit the preexisting crew here.  No one like it when new people come in and screw up the schedules.   So having been extremely enticed by the gym during our orientation made me crave iron time and muscular pain to a level I haven’t felt in the longest time.  This is due to the extremely long days with exhausting ends.  Being tired and feeling like there is really no reason for it SUCKS!  So since Monday I have been back to it and I am finally starting to feel that great energized extra bit of energy and that spunk that makes the day so much more fun.  All thanks to a great gym, I will get photos later, maybe a video.

Oh ya, you have got to check out my gallery for the newest in photos and VIDEO, ya video.  Check it out and tell me what you think.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The ice is back in town...

The Ice has not left!  We got back from our little mock sampling trip yesterday and the ice was on its way back.  The wind had shifted and the mass of ice flowing toward us reminded me of a creepshow2 story where a roving blob eats everything in sight.  Can’t beat that kind of mental visualization while stuck on an island in Antarctica, at least it isn’t the THING.  So the point of all that was just to say that the Ice is back and we are repeating the same thing over and over again.  

Maybe something will happen soon.

Paty, The PI in charge of organizing everything down here is leaving on Tuesday of next week.  She is not happy about not being able to start any real science.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

How cool is this place?

Ok the setup down here is amazing.  We have internet service 24-7 and at not too shabby of a connection speed.  I asked for some help on a process from one of my friends and lab-mates and he was just able to chat with me on messenger like we were in separate rooms.  I am in Antarctica with the internet and a phone.  How crazy!  The only really weird thing is that we hang out with the same 42 people everyday, and we are confined to approximately one square mile.  All is well though because everyone is very cool.

Ice is moving! Woo Hoo!

Holy cow! We are going nuts this morning.  The ice has retreated by about 1000m and it is a good idea for us to get out and take a quick bucket sample of the surface so that we can start to get some ideas about the levels of DMS, DMSP, CDOM, and bacteria.  I will tell you more later.  Rock on!  A’ boating we will go!

Monday, November 07, 2005


Today we had the chance to get out in the water with one of the zodiacs.  This was an attempt to see if we could get some viable samples while the ice was still packed in the bay.  Hugh, Fen, Niki, and I ventured out in the bacteria zodiac, carrying the call sign “this ice sucks”, to try and get a couple depth samples and a surface sample.  We pushed through the pancake ice moving huge sheets from side to side until we finally made it into a clear section to dip our sample tubes.  I took a video of exactly how everything works to give an idea to you at home what it is that we are actually doing here.  After sampling we started pushing our way back starting to realize that we could not see the path that we took to get ourselves out here.  Hugh said slowly in his low tone voice “This is not goooood…”.  Not a minute later he had us stuck on top of a huge piece of pancake ice.  See, Hugh has this slow way of going through the ice, getting stuck periodically and then just gunning it to get free.  Not this time!  We did everything we could from chopping ice with ores to pushing with one leg out on the ice and the other trying to keep us safe.  That is when the girl in the boat took control and gunned the motor back and forth until we were free.  Goes to show that these men have no game over the young girls here.  Shame shame shame….  Why didn’t I step in?  It’s not my boat baby.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Today started quite crazy like. We came into Palmer on the Friday of last week that was seven days ago and the ice was still here (check out photos at my gallery). That evening while the Gould was at the dock, and we were still staying on the boat, the wind picked up from the north and started blowing the ice out to sea. The next morning started to show more water and sparse ice, by the end of the day the ice had almost fully retreated, and by the next day all was clear. Now the bay remained clear for two days and yesterday all was calm and the ice rolled back in slowly but surely. This is not a good sign. Our science relies on cleared ice so we can traverse out to our stations, some of which are two miles away. So I woke up this morning and saw the ice is packed in even tighter. Now we are all hoping for a good sized storm. Today is my brothers birthday. Happy Birthday Geoff!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

We have been setting up all of our equipment, organizing the lab and checking our methods to smooth out any issues over the last six days. This was all in preparation for gathering samples from two predetermined stations here outside of Anvers Island. After all of this preparation we are still not ready to go. Working 14hrs a day should be plenty of time to get things running, right? Well not when you are setting up for 10 primary investigators (PI's). Ya, there are 10 head scientists in on this project. Well there are only three of us here, Two SUNY-ESFer's Kerry McElroy and My self. And one other PI, Paty Matrai from Bigalow Labs in Boothbay Harbor ME. Just the three of us and too much work to be done by ten PI's and all of their workers (three a peice). This means that the three of us are going to be doing the work of 30-40 scientists. In this case we will be doing all of the experiments that all 40 scientists would have been doing, had they been here, but we will not collect samples everyday. We are setting up to sample twice a week, still too much for the amount of studies to be done, and we will be spreading the analysis out over the week. We will see how it goes. I will be keeping up on this from now on. Chat later.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Well, We are here and things are starting to finally get set up. Palmer station is one of the coolest places I have ever been. I don't have enough time to fill you in completely but I also didn't want anyone to think I had forgotten this Blog. I will be getting everyone up to speed in the next couple days. Mean time I have taken some mental break time to hike the glacier and even snowboard down it. Cheers!

Friday, October 21, 2005

We have spent the last few days down here in Punta Arenas getting our gear together and trying on and learning how our polar clothing works. We are just about to get on the boat and run through some security protocols and start getting things moving. Our luggage will be transferred via huge tractor from the warehouse to the ship, whereas we are carrying our personal items. We will be traveling across the Drake Passage on the Lawrence M. Gould R/V IB. The Gould is a Research vessel (R/V) and an Icebreaker (IB). Well equipped to get us to our destination of the Antarctic Peninsula. Our trip is thought to take 5 days but anything can quickly change that. More later...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

This is it... Our last night in New York for the rest of the year. We are packing for our three month trip to Antarctica and excitement is boiling over. Imagine trying to pack everything that you could need for three months into three bags. Crazy! Ya, that’s what I thought. Well the packing is going really well, but I don’t feel ready yet. We will see in the morning and better yet I will see how I feel once I am on the plane. Back to the bags!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

This Blog will be used to update the public about the daily activities of our research teams down in Antarctica. We have two different teams conducting research on opposite sides of the continent. Dr. David J. Kieber will be leading his team from Lyttelton New Zealand on a cruise to the Ross Sea on the Nathanial B. Palmer, this trip will take two months. On Dave's team he has Jordan Brinkley and John Bisgrove, both are students from SUNY ESF. These three will be gathering data of organic sulfur release and degradation.
On the opposite side, SUNY ESF's other research group will be stationed at Palmer station, a United States research installation. Here a team of two SUNY ESF students, George Westby and Kerry McElroy will be gathering data on the organic sulfur present in the Bellingshausen Sea. Both groups research goes much deeper and will be discussed more thoroughly in this blog during the extent of this project.