Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tourist season starts tomorrow

It seems that we have visitors this week; a few hours ago, we got a radio call from a Chilean patrol boat who's in the area, asking if they could stop by for a visit.  They'll only be bringing about 20 people ashore, a tenth as many as the cruise ships will.  So this will be good practice for us to get the station ready for visitors, and to hone our tour speeches.

Believe it or not, we have a very busy tourist season here, and as a matter of goodwill and publicity, anyone who's in the vicinity is welcome to stop by the station.  We get a fair number of private yachts, sailboats, and smaller military craft stopping by, and as long as we have some warning we're happy to bring them ashore, and if it's a very small group will often invite them for dinner. Small cruise ships up to about 200 passengers we will usually let come ashore in groups; we'll give tours and have a meet-and-greet in the galley with the science teams.  Larger cruise ships would overrun our little island though, so for anything bigger we'll go out to the ship in Zodiacs, to do a lecture and Q&A on board.

We don't get paid a dime for this, from anyone, and we refuse to accept donations.  It's something we do for goodwill and to promote the USAP; many of the ships carry a lot of American citizens, and it's their tax dollars paying for all of this, so we owe it to them to show what it's spent on.

(And let's be honest, it's just fun)