Dive tender Addie approaching dive put in spot with divers Chuck and Maggie. Photo by Kari NelsonAs you’ve read in other posts, we wear a lot of stuff when diving. A lot of heavy stuff. We have to get everything into the boat on station and onto us at the dive site. Then we need help getting it back into the boat at the end of the dive, and everything has to get back out of the boat on return station to make diving possible overall. That doesn’t happen without a lot of help and hard work by the dive tenders.

White rectangular plastic tub filled with red amphipods no bigger than a pinkie fingernail floats in shallow water aquaria as the amphipods are counted into opaque jars nestled in a black thick foamed tray; of ice, two small sheets of white plastic, one with a yellow pencil, is nearby to record the numbers transferred
In the last several weeks, our team has discussed several of the tasks that needed to be completed before we could start our experiment: diving to collect samples, removing amphipods from algae, and sorting different amphipod species. These may seem like simple tasks, but we struggled to complete them this season.

Sunday morning until 1PM is Team UAB in A’s ‘day’ off for the week. Despite the high winds the night before and again predicted for our day of leisure, the morning weather was somewhat calm and I decided a trip to the backyard was overdue. Backyard? Why shouldn’t our southern home have one? Palmer’s is the rocky area behind station before reaching the ice/snow of the glacier introduced in my first entry. The image below shows the expanse of our rocky, bouldered backyard ending at the glacier’s edge.

Aerial view of Palmer Station buildings, the dark granite rocky backyard and Bonaparte Point and the beginning edge of the snowy glacier surrounded by greenish-blue waters of Arthur Harbor which meanders into Hero Inlet.

The LMG left the dock around 9:15 AM on February 10. The boat was rocking quite intensely at first, so I decided I would put on my scopolamine patch that night. The patch is good for three days, and we were scheduled to reach the infamous Drake Passage sometime on the morning of the 12th.

After lunch, we mustered in the lounge for a fire drill and safety training. We boarded the impressive lifeboats and toured the labs. It was amazing to see how everything from trash receptacles to centrifuges had been secured to ensure lab safety on the ship. In the afternoon, we donned float coats, sea boots, and fisherman’s gloves to practice climbing up and down a ladder.

22 foot long orange bean-shaped lifeboat capable of totally encasing 44 people secured in cream-yellow cradle

After a combined 13.5 hours of flights and 10.5 hours of layovers – all the while wearing KN-95 masks – I finally arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile around 4:30 PM local time, along with my fellow LMG-bound friends, whom I had met on the way. After checking into the hotel and having dinner at the hotel restaurant, I went straight to sleep. It had been over 24 hours since I’d been able to sleep without a mask on and in a bed.

Montage of three images: penguins on a town beach, buildings with colorful murals, and Jamie posing in front of a statue.