Friday, February 1, 2013

Over-population

Woah, it's not orange!

Wait a minute, that's not the LMG!

The R/V Point Sur showed up a couple of days ago, one of the few ships besides the LMG that will tie up to our peir.  This ship is also operated by the USAP and NSF, it's sort of an experiment to see how much science can be done with smaller, less expensive vessels along the Antarctic Peninsula. 

The LMG is a good science-capable ship, but for many of the tasks it's much more than needed, and is also quite expensive.  It costs $35,000 per day to run the LMG, while the Point Sur is only $14,000 per day.  For things like field camp put-ins, wildlife tagging and water sampling, it's perfectly capable and gives WAY more range and capabilities than we have operating from Zodiac boats based around station.  It also frees the LMG up to continue other longer-range science, such as the ongoing LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) project.

Although given how long it's been since anyone besides the LMG has tied to our peir, we ran into a bit of a problem.
Aaaaaalmost . . . nope, can't reach.

The LMG is so large and has such a deep draft that we have to hold it far off the pier with two bumpers to prevent it's hull from smacking into some underwater rocks.  But the Point Sur is vastly smaller, and it's gangway wasn't long enough to bridge this much gap.   Eventually we decided to take off the two outer fenders, which allowed it to tie up, offload some people, and deliver to us the most important cargo of all.
EAT ALL THE PLANTS.

FRESHIES, the most precious commodity on the whole continent. 

But the Point Sur also dropped off some people, more than they were expecting to.  One of the science groups on the ship had expected to get dropped off at some islands over in the Weddell Sea, but they were thwarted by ice and couldn't put in their field camp.  So instead they're here on station, and we simply don't have the bed space for them.  Our absolute maximum capacity of beds is 46 people if EVERYONE has a room mate, and with the inclusion of this group, we're at 54. 

So they're living outside for now.
For lease; exclusive waterfront property, great location!

They've pitched tents all over the station. Some on the cargo deck behind GWR, others in the "backyard", the hills behind the station at the base of the glacier.  It's about what they expected; the plan was for them to have been camping for three weeks on the other side of the peninsula, far from any sort of station that could provide them with hot showers and food.  So even though they're in tents, this is considered luxury.

It's fun having this many people around, but it is getting kind of crowded.  This is the most people that have been on station for more than an hour since the Bahia sank back in 1989.
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