Nov 13: Freshies

Post by W&M undergraduate Domi Paxton.

Several things were in the works at Palmer Station this week. The RV Laurence M. Gould docked at station to bring two new scientists who are studying birds down here in Antarctica. The Gould only stayed for a day, as it needed to continue on to conduct a research cruise with scientists on board.

The arrival of the ship meant a busy day here at the Station; several of us formed an assembly line across the ship and gangway to help unload cargo. And of course, everyone was excited to have new “freshies” (fruits and vegetables)!

Domi Paxton prepares to launch the towfish.
Domi Paxton prepares to launch the towfish.

There was a bit of a setback with our Towfish—a piece of plastic where the cable connects to the echosounder broke off. However, we had the part on Station and thanks to our Instrument Tech the Towfish was ready to go the next day! Kim and I took it out for a test run and found that everything is working smoothly once again.

This Sunday we had great weather, which allowed for lots of recreational activities on everyone’s day off. Here at Palmer you can go boating, hiking up the glacier, skiing and snowboarding, camping, or just explore around the rocks in the backyard.

This week several groups went out recreational boating. My group went around to different points, getting a good look at the glacier and the Bahia Paraiso (a sunken cruise ship). We hoped to see some leopard seals, but instead were able to see a family of elephant seals on Torgersen Island.

An Adelie penguin watches over its egg.
An Adelie penguin watches over its egg.

In addition to elephant seals, Torgesen Island is home to several penguin colonies. I was lucky enough to see some eggs, which look like a pale yellow tennis ball under the penguin. We also saw several skuas, birds that prey on the penguin eggs and young.

Now it’s time to hope for additional great weather and sampling days! Starting November 18, Kim and I need to sample everyday as the diurnal tide rolls in.

Author: David Malmquist

David Malmquist is the Director of Communications at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary.