03.05.18 CurtisDriving

What do bubble-watching, lots of fleece layers, and ski masks have in common?

Divers Bill and Maggie with tender SabrinaWith the project’s initial diving priority of locating and assessing the 14 algal-bearing substrate experiments left over winter in the water well underway, yesterday Bill and I concentrated on collecting familiar organisms we have been studying for many years because of their intriguing chemistry. So, despite gusting winds and intermittent snow squalls, with tenders Sabrina doubling as zodiac captain and Chuck (taking picture) as first mate, we set out for a dive on nearby Gamage Point.

Surveying potential dive sites from high ground
After four days when we first got here with the weather keeping us from getting out in the boats to dive, we’ve had five straight days of relative calm that has allowed us to get out each day.

Being one of the lucky people who was already at Palmer Station last season, it probably only took about 5 minutes for me to feel at home again. And of course, like everyone else, I was eager to get back in the water. This time around, I had a different reason though for my unrest: an anxious anticipation for the reunion with our long-term experiments.

MCurtis 2 1 Zodiac
I am writing from the couch in the galley with a wood burning fireplace to my left and an incredible view of icebergs and snow-covered islands in front of me. This morning has been spent talking with new friends while watching crabeater and leopard seals peacefully floating by on ice floes.