Drinking coffee in front of the windows overlooking hero inlet makes me feel very lucky to be down in Antarctica this season.
I am sitting in the main building at Palmer Station before work this morning enjoying the view. Especially as you watch a Leopard Seal clumsily jump onto an ice-floe 600 yards away from you. I cannot help but remember the time I spent talking to tourists on a cruise ship.
Living on the edge of a glacier in Antarctica watching Leopard Seals and whales pass by our station has been my life for the last six months. I have been quiet on my blog for a while now. The need for my posts to go through extensive editing and working close to 60 hours a week feeding 45 people delicious food is the cause of that. In the past few weeks, I have learned that it is more important to consistently give my readers an update on my life every week than have the best looking posts.
Nonetheless, I am sorry for the prolonged lapse between this post and my last.
Anyway, I am at Palmer Station in Antarctica. I have a glacier that I can climb in my backyard and various penguins or seals walking around the station on any given day. I also have a lot of articles to write to get everyone a great insight into Palmer Station!
Working at a research station that can host tourists is a rare treat for most contractors in my field. The extent of interactions most people at any research station get with tourists is through the internet.
Palmer Station is in a unique cruise ship lane in Antarctica. The sector of tourism in Antarctica is rapidly growing, for better or worse. Palmer Station is making the best of this situation.
My coworkers at Palmer Station are sometimes hosted on different cruise ships to give insight into our lives for passing tourist’s vessels.
I was lucky enough to go on one of the cruise ships this year.
A group of eight Palmerites drove our tiny Zodiac boat out to meet the cruise ship. To get onto the cruise ship, the little Zodiac was instructed to pull up alongside one small rope ladder dangling from the shipping hull in this massive behemoth of a boat.
Then we each took our turn climbing the swinging ladder onto the boat. We had to time our ascent with the bucking waves. Jump on the moving rope ladder at the peak of the ocean swell and DO NOT STOP CLIMBING!
Once on board, our group was met with a few charming representative staff members from the cruise ship. They immediately hung our safety water equipment up for storage and introduced themselves.
We were escorted to an extensive buffet breakfast with all the fruit you can imagine. Fruit is hard to come by in Antarctica, so it was a welcome reprieve.
The primary purpose of the cruise ship visit was to do a presentation for the cruise ship guests.
National Science Foundation makes it a vital part of our job to educate the public about our experiences in Antarctica. Living at a United States research station is an integral part of the outreach program and Palmer Station, which we try to convey to the public through these massive forums.
Not only that, there was a significant group of people from my home state, Utah, on board!
Naturally, as any Utahn is excited about seeing another local community member in the “wild,” they were all thrilled to see me walking around their floating vacation home! One of them wanted to get ahold of my mother so she could tell her that I am not dead!
After the visit, we wandered around the boat to take pictures of the surrounding mountains. Unfortunately, Palmer Station’s boating area is relatively small, so it was nice to see another part of the peninsula.
All of the guests on board the boat constantly stopped any of us Palmerites for a quick chat.
In addition, I was constantly impressed by how much of an interest they showed in our regular lives around the station. Many nationalities take these cruises, and we got questions from multiple countries.
Maybe I love traveling so much because you get to interact with different nationalities, both with fellow travelers and locals alike. The cruise ship gave me that beautiful slice of my two separate worlds and melded it seamlessly. People continually impress me, even in such short amounts of time I get to share with them.
One of the best parts of the cruise ship was that the chef gave me a personal tour of the kitchen services and all of the different dining rooms. It was one of the more extensive facilities that I have ever seen. Phillipino cooks feed most of the boat and a few European Executive Chefs coordinate everything else.
Having 20 separate kitchens and five dining halls feeding 1400 people is impressive anywhere in the world.
In the end, we were escorted back to the scary rope ladder dangling from the side of the cruise ship. We climbed back into our dinky boat and puttered back to our little station on the backside of a glacier in Antarctica. Today was a good day in Antarctica!