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>Seas: We're docked
>Winds 4.1 knots
>Temp -0.6 C ; w/ wind chill –0.2 C
>Location: Latitude 64 degrees 46.48’ S; Longitude 64 degrees 03.31 W

Above, Sea mice.
Click on each image for larger view.

16 December 2004

We have spent the entire day docked at Palmer Station. I incorrectly reported yesterday that the maximum residence was ca. 33 as recent renovations have swelled the living capacity of the facility to a robust 44. Palmer Station looks like a frontier outpost. It is a collection of buildings amongst a field of granite boulders. Much of the snow has melted and you can see small areas of green grass and moss amongst and patches of orange lichen on the rocks.

The station has been locked in ice for all but a few days for the entire spring/summer season. Instead of being covered with a solid sheet of ice, Arthur Harbor is filled to capacity with a large number of relatively small pieces of ice. As you might expect these conditions are seriously hampering the science groups in residence. They have been able to get to their sampling stations only 12 times since September! This has to be frustrating — to see your work area, but not to be able to get into the field.

For entertainment and exercise, all of the LMG's Science Groups hiked up the Marr Glacier that looms behind Palmer Station for a group photo. As the hike began we experienced a light and pleasant snowfall. As we ascended the glacier weather conditions deteriorated and we were soon hiking in a significant snowstorm. Fortunately, we passed through this band of bad weather and, at the end of the trail, the winds decreased and we were greeted again by a gentle snowfall. After several minutes of discussion about how the camera works (how many Ph.D.s does it take to work a camera?) and a snowball fight or two, our photo was successfully captured.

For the duration of the cruise, our only science activity we will to take plankton samples every four hours. In the Drake Passage, we are going to compare drift and towed plankton tows at the same sampling station. These results are eagerly will awaited by the planktophiles in our group.

Finally, at Palmer Station we saw two more species of seal. A lone Weddell seal was napping on the ice and several Elephant seals were snoozing on the rocks.

As many of you will be soon departing for home — congratulations for successfully completing the semester and we wish you a happy holiday season.



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