Palmer Station, my temporary home, is one of three US stations in Antarctica. It is located on the western Antarctic Peninsula, which has a more maritime ("warmer") climate and is farthest from the Pole. Temperatures in the austral summer hover just above freezing. So, yes, it can be warmer at Palmer Station than say, Lubbock, Texas in winter!
Palmer station is on an island (Anvers Island) and is surrounded by mountains - mountains on Anvers Island and mountains of the Peninsula proper, with sheer cliffs rising 4000-5000 feet above sea level. These mountains thus provide a picturesque view no matter where you look.
Chinstrap penguins are my favorite penguin species. They are more of a sub-Antarctic species, but their numbers have been growing as the Antarctic Peninsula continues to warm.
A small Solas boat 'Acrux' on its way to help out another Solas ('Bellatrix'). Bellatrix's engine stopped working and the whale research team was stranded. Help is never far away. Acrux managed to tow Bellatrix back to station successfully.
The ship Laurence M. Gould arrived only recently with more scientists, supplies and food. Click on the image to see a short time-lapse on my Instagram page (@AntarcticResearchAdventures) to see how the ship "parks" on the pier! Fantastic!
The Gould departed today, on New Year's Eve to start the next long-term ecological research (LTER) cruise. Bon voyage and happy sciencing!
Last night there were two whales, a mother and calf most likely, who were feeding on krill near Palmer Station. Apparently, they were not the only ones eating! Flocks of gulls and even a dapper Skua were eating the leftovers.
All photos were taken right on shore. Incredible!! I LOVE THIS PLACE!!!
Yesterday we had a White Elephant gift exchange. My "prize": three wonderfully etched petri dishes, made by Lance and Hannah. People here are so talented and creative. That includes the wooden chalice by Ian, art by Marissa, etched wine glasses made by Joe, and many more!
One first for me was having a stocking! This morning I opened up the wonderful little gifts inside, courtesy of several at Palmer Station. My husband Ken and I always traveled to family for the Holidays, so we never had our own stuffable stockings.
Yesterday we focused on Christmas, and today we celebrated Hanukkah, complete with latkes and dreidel - Latkes are so tasty!!!
Wishing you all a most wonderful Christmas / Holidays. Thank you Francis and Aleah for a veritable FEAST! You have put so much work into the culinary creations.
Meanwhile, outside, gentoo penguins are basking in the low light. They seem content too.
We found a good field site close to the glacier. We left heavily packed with equipment, warm and dry (Thanks Ian, for the photo!) and returned a bit bedraggled! There was a snow storm while we were out. Weather is so unpredictable! But we got one site selected - we will finish setup during the next good weather window.
See the blue-ish hue of the glacier compared to the snow at the bottom. The glacier has lost much of its height, exposing the much older and compressed ice (which is more blue). Not that long ago, our site was still buried underneath the glacier. So much glacial retreat in very little time - it scares me!
When we traveled through the Gerlache Strait, just before the Neumayer Channel, I remained awake from 22:00 onwards (we arrived at Palmer Station at 08:00). So glad I did - I would have missed a magnificent moonset!
Growing up watching nature documentaries, I find myself now immersed in nature's splendor. As an ecologist I study how ecosystems function. Here I share with you my love of doing research in Antarctica - a place of sheer beauty