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If you have been checking out the Palmer Station webcam (http://www.usap.gov/videoclipsandmaps/palWebCam.cfm) recently you may have noticed that we have been having a wide variety of visitors lately. The type of visitor and duration of stay have varied greatly, mostly the length of stay has depended on the weather. Our visitors have ranged from a 12 meter (39.4 ft) long sailboat to giant icebergs and small cruise ships.

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Our dive season in Antarctica has officially begun!

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UAB in Antarctica’s initial days on station were a frenzy of unpacking science gear into labs and tossing personal gear into an assigned dorm room while simultaneously packing and prepping for our dive cruise time on the Pt. Sur which was described in Chuck’s last entry. It was a hectic stretch and everyone was ready for our first official day off since leaving Punta Arenas. Sunday morning until 1PM is the project’s weekly “day” off (yes, fuzzy math). Team members took the opportunity to finally get settled and comfy in their rooms and for first-time Palmerite Kevin Scriber, the opportunity to fully explore his new home.

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I am anchoring from home base this field season, remaining at UAB while the field team digs in at Palmer Station. I will be busy assisting Chuck submit an NSF grant proposal that will keep our Antarctic program moving forward, assisting Julie submit a manuscript on the impacts of ocean acidification on marine invertebrates from work she did last year, and giving presentations and book signings for my recently released Lost Antarctica – Adventures in a Disappearing Land (www.lostantarctica.com). 

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I suppose that anyone who has once been with a hero would always want to be with one again. From 1968 until 1984, Palmer Station and US Antarctic research on the Antarctic Peninsula was supported by a beautiful 125 ft. in length, wooden research vessel called the Hero. Maggie sailed on the Hero during her first two seasons at Palmer in the early 80s and I was at the ship's decommissioning ceremony in California in 1984. You can see more about the Hero at the Hero page on PalmerStation.com.

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After spending a couple of days of figuring out what I will need for the next four and a half months and how to make it fit into two duffle bags, I found myself excitedly sitting inside my screen door with all my gear when Chuck and Maggie showed up to start the caravan to the airport.

Kevin LEAVING PAsmall
In Punta Arenas, Chile on Tuesday February 12th, the members of UAB 2013 Antarctic field team awaited departure to our final destination: Palmer Station, Antarctica. The ship taking us was the 250 foot long, ASRV (Antarctic Survey and Resupply Vessel) Laurence M. Gould, designed to traverse the cold southern ocean and Antarctic ice. We walked around the ship’s deck taking pictures of our surroundings. The other members of the team reminisced about field seasons prior and their wonderful experiences. I looked around at their faces and was filled with an eager anticipation of things to come.

Quarry2013a
Ever get a song stuck in your head that you had not thought about or even heard for years?? That is what happened to me the other day as I was sitting on a wood planked dock at Alabama Blue Water. My black finned feet were dangling in the quarry waters as the twangy tones of Gene Autry, the singing cowboy, drifted into my head.   “I’m back in the saddle again” is how the legendary vocalist sang it but the little singer between my ears substituted drysuit for saddle. That little singer must not have known all the lyrics as broken record-like just that line was sung over and over again….