Sunday, November 9, 2008

Polar Plunge

Traditions are a funny thing. They make otherwise sane, healthy, normal people (or at least as normal as you find on the ice) engage in activities that don't make a lot of sense. And of all of the traditions that exist on station, none is nuttier then what happens every time the ship leaves.

Actually, it happens more frequently then that. People do this to celebrate their birthdays, or other people's birthdays. Or in mourning, or on a major holiday, or for any reason they can think of.

So when the ship pulled out in September taking half of the winter crew with them, people  did what they do.

Keep in mind that this water is about 29 degrees, as salt water has a lower freezing point then fresh water.

One of the things you have to be careful of when jumping after the ship is to wait until it moves away enough from the pier that you don't get caught in the prop wash. If you do get caught in the wash, you get pushed way up the inlet, and face a long swim back to the ladder. Even without the prop wash, it's still not totally hassle-free. You can actually see Waslo getting pulled under the pier bumper by the surge, and had to grab Wally's arm to stop from being sucked under the bumper.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Oh, so THAT'S how it's done

Ever since I got to station, my friend Sean and I, as well as other people on station, had posed the question; "How on earth do penguins mate?". Given their odd stature and physiology, we couldn't imagine any sort of way that it could work. And, of course, we were far too lazy to just google for it, or something.

But, a couple weeks ago, Sean and I were out hiking on one of the nearby islands when I noticed this. And it took me a couple seconds to figure out what the heck was going on.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how penguins mate. Mystery solved.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I know I haven't posted in a while, and to be honest, that's because I'm no longer on station. I ended my contract early, and left station on the October boat. After a rough five-day Drake crossing, and a day in PA, I got back to the USA on October 30th.

I'm not out of stories and photos of Antarctica yet, though, so expect more posts in the future of things that I'd always meant to write about, but never got around to.