Last week marked a new Antarctic first for me. My first trip up the glacier! Usually consumed by amphipod guts and feeding assays, I had not yet had a chance to make the stoic hike to the top of the glacier. Maggie, in her infinite wisdom, deemed this a sin and insisted that I make the journey.
The very next day Jim, Maggie, and I started the steady climb to the top. It was a fun hike and quite breathtaking at the apex. Flags line the area of safe ascent but we all treaded lightly to avoid any new or missed crevasses. For Jim and me, this meant checking our footing with each step and avoiding any areas that looked as if they may give under our weight. For Maggie, this simply meant following our footsteps knowing that we were sure to unintentionally discover any new crevices prior to her (I did previously mention her infinite wisdom, right?).
Once at the top, Maggie and Jim were both quick to point out all the landmarks that I learned at the time but have probably already forgotten. Maggie indicated how far the glacier has receded since her first trip to Palmer Station and all the new land masses that could be seen that were not visible a decade ago... scary.
Jim and Maggie both stood majestically peering out over the Antarctic Peninsula enjoying the serenity of the area while I, often the bane of serenity, carefully constructed a snowball behind their backs and contemplated the intended target. Maggie is a fellow SCUBA dive junkie, lab partner, and has been an integral part of my research collecting algae and identifying amphipods. Jim, as one of my PhD research committee members, may need to sign something one day before I can graduate (sorry about that snowball Maggie).
After our short hiatus at the top of the glacier, Jim hiked back to Palmer Station while Maggie and I took a side trail down to Bonaparte Point which is separated from Palmer Station by Hero Inlet and the glacier. From this small inland extension you can get a great vantage point of the many small coves and indentations on the face of the glacier, a good view of Hero Inlet, and can make out several of the campsites used by different staff members who want to get away from the noise (generators) of Palmer Station.
Near the edge of one the small coves there is constant runoff, like a waterfall, coming off the glacier toward the back end of the cove. I look forward to hiking around Hero Inlet and getting a closer look.
Although Maggie and I had time constraints and, therefore, could not get all the way out to the tip of Bonaparte Point, we agreed that a hike to the end of the point would be in the near future. I must point out that since that vow was made we have had a series of bad weather days, but the thought of that excursion still lingers.
A Russian ship, the M/V Aleksey Maryshev, stopped by Palmer yesterday and invited a group of scientists and staff to a BBQ on the vessel. The group was eager to go, all us in the vestibule geared up in mustang suits (like a full body lifejacket). Unfortunately, ~30 knot winds, heavy snow fall, and darkness prevented us from attending as boating conditions were unsafe even to move people back and forth from the ship. I was disappointed as this marks the second time in my life I have had a Russian vessel in hailing distance to be denied passage at the last minute. Oh well, not too big a disappointment as soon the weather is bound to calm and I can trek out to the end of Bonaparte Point, interior of Hero Inlet, and other serene locations.