Friday, September 28, 2012

And there it goes

The LMG headed north today, taking most of the winter-over population with it.  As it vanished into the fog, it left only 26 of us still here on station, and until the boat returns on October 18th, we are the only humans for at least a hundred miles in any direction (the nearest other human presence is 13 men at the Ukrainian station of Vernadsky, well to the south of us).

We're enjoying the reduced population for now; due to the number of couples on station, everyone who wants their own room can currently have one, and our small pipe of internet access is relatively snappy.  The science techs are getting the labs ready for the full start of the summer science season; when the next boat docks it will be bringing with it a load of scientists and the population is going to swell to 35.  For now, we're enjoying the peace and quiet, and privacy afforded by the luxury of solo rooms.

(The only bad news is that I've discovered where they're keeping our supply of Haagen-Dazs bars.  This is a very bad thing; I should not being given unlimited access to all the ice cream I can eat)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Drake Passage on the LMG

The Laurence M Gould, usually just abbreviated to LMG in the Antarctic vocabulary, is the icebreaker that ferries us back and forth from Palmer Station. Palmer is far too small to have an airstrip, and even if our population was big enough to make use of one there's simply no place to build one. So, once a month or so, the LMG departs Chile and makes the ~5 day crossing of the Drake Passage.

I shot this video a few days in to our crossing. All told, this is a VERY mild day in the Drake, we were lucky and while our crossing was a bit rolley, it wasn't rough and we didn't hit any storms. But you can watch below for a quick peak as to what the ship is like inside, and on the outside on a typical Antarctic spring day.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

And here we are again

Four years.  It's been four years since I've been on the ice. 

Those four years saw me live in India, be homeless by choice living on my motorcycle, attempt to be a normal person in the states, and then for a couple years I lived on a tiny tropical island in the middle of the Pacific.  And in all of those places, I found some bit of what I was looking for, but . . . nothing I ever threw myself at was quite the same as the strange little frozen speck of land full of misfits that I called home for most of 2008.

So you know what?  I've gone back.

I type this from the lounge of the R/V Lawrence M Gould, as we sit at the dock at Palmer Station, Antarctica.  I'm moving back on station tomorrow; it will be my physical home for the next seven months, but it's been my emotional home since I left four years ago.