Recently the enormous iceberg nicknamed Mark Wahl-Berg exploded in Arthur Harbor near Palmer Station, due to some combination of warmer temperatures a whole lotta mass. During my brief stopover at Palmer, I got to visit the remains of Mark Wahl-Berg — now referred to as “Marky Mark and some bergy bits.” It’s hard to get an idea of perspective in the photo (we were a few hundred meters away), but even after losing nearly half of himself, Marky Mark’s unsubmerged portion is still about the size of a large house. In the photo: the smooth parts of the berg used to be underwater, while the jagged portion stuck out, exposed to air. The whole thing shifted its center of mass after splintering in half.

The rest of our stay at Palmer Station consisted mostly of cargo operations during the morning, touring penguin colonies during the late afternoon, and a good old-fashioned party in the Palmer Station bar at night. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of penguins. As smelly as they are (think seafood-restaurant-meets-outhouse), they are undeniably adorable. I even got to see a pair of penguins doin’ it, and another penguin getting ripped to shreds by a Skua. Circle of life, I guess. As for the bar: It’s fun knowing the ice in your beverage calved off a several-thousand-year-old glacier. That night we all got little chunks of Marky Mark in our drinks.

This morning we reached our first sampling station. LTER 2011 has begun! I think you can track the ship’s position here:

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