Long story short: I'm staying at Palmer for the summer!!!
A bit more info: My last post, about how I'd lost my contract at the South Pole, wasn't exactly fresh news. I found out that I'd lost my summer contract almost a month ago, and have spent the last month e-mailing everyone and anyone I could to try and find another job. I wasn't having much luck, but didn't feel like posting about it there and then, as . . . well, maybe that if I didn't tell the world about it, it wouldn't be true? Or that I didn't want to admit to myself that I might actually have to go back to the states for the summer? Can't say for sure. But I wasn't having much luck with the trying to find another contract. There were a lot of other people who'd lost their jobs, and Pole had to accept a lot of the over-hires from McMurdo who had more ice time. No matter who I spoke with, it was just about the same story; they were hired up, or I (legitimately) wasn't qualified for the positions they still had open.
My posting was, more then anything, almost an admittance of defeat of sorts, admitting to the rest of the world that my plans for an ice life weren't working out exactly how I'd hoped they would.
But being, as I've said I am, the lowest rung on the ladder here, I wasn't privy to some of the string-pulling that people have been doing back in Denver. They'd already hired someone for my position over the summer, as they really don't like keeping people at Palmer for more then six months if they can avoid it. But, unbenownst to me, that person had backed out of their contract. And some people (both in Denver and here on station) were pulling whatever strings they could, on my behalf.
This evening, I got an e-mail from HR asking me if I'd like to sign a new contract, as a Utility Technician's Helper, for the Austral Summer at Palmer Station.
I had to re-read the short e-mail a couple of times before it actually sunk in.
Summers here are . . . unique, fantastic, and awesome in all ways. Wildlife comes back in full force, WAY more so then the occasional seal of penguin we see now. The penguins come back in hoards, taking over all the islands and making little penguin babies (which at some point you get to go out and play with), seals make little seal babies, and whales will often sleep in the harbor (you can hear them breathing, I'm told, from half a mile away). And while it gets pretty rainy, it's mostly quite mild, sometimes gets up to like 50 degrees. And because the sun is up the better part of 18-20 hours per day, and there's no sea ice, you can go boating almost whenever you want.
There's also, I'm told, a fairly active tourist season here. Cruise ships stop by a lot, as do private boats. Some people regard them as a big pain in the ass, but I'm looking forward to it. Often the ships will let the station people come on board for a day or so, have a little mini vacation of sorts.
Anyway, right now I'm still all hyped up and bouncing off the walls about this. I'll try to write more later once the dates are finalized and I have a bit more info.