360-degree panorama of Palmer Station, Antarctica at midnight

This is where I live.  Not bad, eh?

…on top of the bar is a crow’s nest of sorts, accessible by ladder, and from it you get a stellar 360-degree view.  Yup, that’s still sunshine at midnight.  11:45pm – 2:00am is one big sunsetrise, and everything else is daytime.  Here’s an annotated version of the panorama, just to give you a lil tour of the important stuff:

(click on either of these panoramas for a larger image)

Goodbye Gould

Yesterday the ARSV Gould left the pier, taking most of the winter crew northbound.  I’m usually the one leaving on the Gould – either on my way farther south for a research cruise or heading home – so it was strange and a little eerie to be left on land while the ship pulled away…  This is it!  Those of us who are still here are here to stay for a long time.

There isn’t time for second thoughts, though, because tradition (and peer pressure) says that we all must jump into the water while those leaving on the Gould wave goodbye.  After that it’s a mad dash to the hot tub.  By the time you’ve thawed out enough to think, the boat has already disappeared from view and it’s just you and your newly-adopted family.  Video of our polar plunge coming soon!

Home Sweet Antarctica

We made it!  Greetings from the pier at Palmer Station, Antarctica.

The last few days have consisted mostly of sitting around in the ship’s lounge (my eyeballs are going to explode if I watch another movie) punctuated by one action-packed morning at Copacabana.  Copa is a tiny two-room beachfront hut, whose only neighbors are several hundreds of penguins.   Arctowski, the Polish Antarctic station, is a few miles away by boat.  Talk about social paradise, eh?  We dropped off the four researchers who will be staying at Copa until February, spent several hours hauling their food, equipment, and propane up the beach by sled, rewarded ourselves with a beer, and headed back to Mother Gould in our Zodiacs (small, inflatable motor boats).  Check out this wacky cloud that blew over us at the beach:

In the foreground is a crew with one of the Zodiacs.  The Gould is that dark spot on the horizon underneath the wacky cloud.

Last night was about the stormiest we’ve seen — gusting 50 with heavy snow and ice — and this morning at 0800 we arrived at my home for the next four months.  My day is full of orientations and training meetings, but I really can’t complain because there are icebergs and penguins in my back yard.