Monday, June 30, 2008

Let's Get to Know Adam


I was studying at the University of Tasmania, in Hobart. It was my first time out of North America. I walked or rode my bike to the art school on the ocean and it affected me deeply. I bought fish and chips from the boats floating at the marina during lunch and spent my weekends taking trips around the island, sailing, hiking. I was 19 and in Australia it was legal for me to buy alcohol, rent cars and hitch-hiking was regarded as a completely safe and normal occupation.


- Oil change Yamaha outboard motor
- Find some people to do the things I do, when I am gone next week
- Build Wonderbread (it's a platform boat)
- Watch a video on Net Mending
- Take a nap


- Finish Gould job
- Go to Ilha Grande in Brazil, buy a bicycle and a tropical drink
- Travel more and more
- Purchase dream house and spend some time making art


- Duluth, Minnesota, USA
- Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
- Panama City, Panama
- Ithaca, New York, USA
- South Pole Station, Antarctica


- I talk a lot of nonsense
- I have trouble making decisions about seemingly insubstantial things
- I drink too much coffee


- Carpenter Helper
- Bookbinder
- 8th Grade Art Teacher
- Kayaking Guide
- Barista


- I stole it from the Disney cartoon "Kimpossible"


I (like Payot) choose to tag nobody.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

From Time to Time

I will be leaving Palmer in less than a week. Sometimes I am excited, sometimes sad, sometimes sleepy. Primarily though, I am looking forward to a change of pace. As much as I might like to write that I will be drinking a coconut-themed drink on a beach in South America, that dream will have to wait. Instead, I will be joining the ranks of proud Marine Technicians aboard the Laurence M. Gould, the research vessel that brought me down here. Besides shuttling people to and from Palmer Station, the LMG primarily does science along the Antarctic peninsula. It is big and orange and a lot like the Belafonte from the Life Aquatic. Except without the hot tub or observation bubble. And they don't carry Glocks, that I know of.

As for the specific duties of my job to be, I can't say for sure. 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week while at sea (I think). From my experience on the fishing cruises last month, I know I will help casting out the nets that scientists use to troll for fish. Cast and haul, sort through the fish, putting the special ones into tanks. I will possibly be taking trips in the two on-board Zodiacs with scientists to get to shallower fishing sites. General maintenance, repairing nets and Zodiacs, recording data from various computers, loading and unloading cargo at Palmer and Punta Arenas. We will basically be cruising along the peninsula and crossing the Drake Passage from time to time.

It's all very exciting, but hard to imagine as I wrap things up here at Palmer. The Boathouse is still busy with occasional boating classes, protecting the boats from fierce winds and working on projects left over from summers long since passed. Yesterday, as I cruised out to Torgersen Island and around Arthur Harbor, I couldn't help but wonder if it would be my last time. Today I will draw my house mouse (weekend clean-up) job, and ponder the same question. Of course I will be back here in a few weeks, but as a visitor. I certainly hope to come back to Palmer again as a member of the community. My last seven months here have been extraordinary. Rather than focusing on a week of lasts, I want this next week to be a reminder to me about appreciating time in a remarkable place with inspired people.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


OSAR training, as it is every month, was a hoot and a holler last week. Although boating hours are getting longer they currently only run from 11:26am to 1:10pm (sunrise is at 10:26am and sunset at 2:10pm) so getting out on the water is a precious thing. Thankfully our OSAR team was up for the challenge as we took to the seas to practice man-overboard drills in 15 knot winds. We even had three volunteers to wear the immersion suits in the water.
Anthony and Payot carefully prepare for a pick-up.

They slowly approach the unlucky customer.

The person is lifted carefully into the Zodiac.

After everyone is back in the boat the team cruises back to Palmer for warm drinks.

On the way back, we encountered a cluster of people in the water, crying for help.

Upon our approach, it turned out they were just having fun. So we left them to swim back to station.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Two Videos

Here's a little video of us leaving Vernadsky, bellies full of milk and honey.

This time lapse video was made by Mayor WASLO (AKA Chris Seliga) of us unloading fish from the Gould. I can be seen operating the orange SkyTrak, picking the boat, dropping it into the sea. Almost everyone on station makes an appearance in this dramatic work of art.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Last weekend, along with a group of 20 other Palmerites, I took a trip aboard the Laurence M. Gould to the Ukranian Station, Vernadsky on Galindez Island. It is in a similar area I visited three weeks ago, through the stunning Lemaire Channel. The main difference this time was that we would be allowed to disembark the Gould for an afternoon of frivolity and adventure with the Ukranian winter crew. The voyage was serene, full of humpback pods frolicking in the setting sun and quiet games with friends in the Gould lounge. At Vernadsky life picked up. The shores of the base are too shallow for the Gould to tie up so we approached the station on two Zodiacs. The small Ukranian crew was waiting for us at the shore. An all men station, Vernadsky is a former Brittish base handed over to the Ukraine in 1996. The contracts the men work are normally a year or longer. The summer brings them many visitors, but now, in the depths of winter, we were a novelty for them. The main reason for our little boondoggle was to bring the new cook. Not only were they happy to have visitors, they were especially happy to have someone to take care of cooking and cleaning.

Upon arrival we were given a tour of their main building, by the IT guy who spoke the best English. The building is two stories and provides sleeping room for up to 24 people (though there are only 12 on station now), a medical area, various offices, and a reverse osmosis plant on the ground floor. On the second floor there is a lounge, library, dining room and kitchen. Here we were presented with a colorful spread of food for lunch. Each of the men made a plate of food, some of which included various smoked fish, mock crab, beet and cabbage salad and toasty bits. They offered a toast with their home made Horilka, which is milk and honey vodka. It was all very tasty. We were able to eat and chat for a few hours, when our responsible Station Manager whisked us away to the Zodiacs and on our way back to Palmer. I was sad to leave after such a brief time, but was given the gift of a fish head by the Vernadsky Doctor, to remember my brief and pleasant stay.

I am not quite sure what this sign says, but I think it speaks fairly clearly for itself. If you see the abominable snowman point him out and run. Don't try to tickle the skeleton. Gold taco fish are good and yummy but be sure to follow-up with some water.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Palmer Station Bar

The bar at Palmer station is a very special place. It is so special that I often wonder how my South Pole friends manage without one. It is great to have a place where everyone can congregate in a relaxed atmosphere. Not everyone drinks, those who do can do it in a relaxed social setting. The bar at Palmer attracts everyone. Some more than others of course, but it brings together scientist and carpenter. Visitor and resident. Old and young. The Palmer bar has a sound system with thousands of songs, walls full of memorabilia, and a card table. It also has a pool table, a popcorn machine. Such grand events that have happened at the bar since I arrived include a PiƱata, numerous birthday parties, trivia night, live music, a scavenger hunt, Poker tournaments, kareoke, a Scrabble-off and any number of impromptu get-togethers.