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30 October, 1999

Christchurch New Zealand Saturday

Another wonderful day in Christchurch! Two groups were able to deploy today so the number of scientists roaming the streets of Christchurch has been greatly reduced. At the CDC today, in the women's dressing room, only the bags belonging to our team and one other woman, remained. Most of us expect to deploy tomorrow. We're ready!

After breakfast and a trip to the Antarctic Centre's Computer Room to answer email and write my journals, all of us walked to the Arts Centre where a street festival, or flea market, was taking place. There were booths of artisans selling wood carvings, wool items, bone carved necklaces, and any number of arts and crafts from the area. I made a few purchases! Lunch was next and then all of us (Bess, Julie, Mark, Maite and myself) hopped on a bus to Lyttleton, the harbor area of Christchurch. I had heard from a South Pole carpenter, that the "Nathaniel B. Palmer" was docked at the harbor. You are probably asking why that would entice us to the southeast corner of Christchurch on a cold, rainy, fairly miserable day! Read on!

When you arrive in Lyttleton, the first place your eye looks is to the harbor and there sitting gracefully in dock was the "Palmer"! The "RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer" is a research vessel (RV) and an ice breaker (IB). This sturdy, bright red vessel was built in the United States because the U.S. wanted a vessel capable of breaking through the ice around Antarctica, enabling scientists to conduct research in areas that were once inaccessible. This ship is so impressive!

Approaching the ship, we were greeted by a gentleman who led us aboard! On board, we were introduced to Kathleen Gavahan, a senior systems analyst and sonar specialist. She agreed to give us a private tour of the vessel! What a unique experience this was!

Kathleen guided us through the living quarters, showing us the bedrooms (typically, double occupancy), the galley (eating area), the lounge (T.V. and videos), and the gym (yes! there is a gym). Our next stop included the computer rooms and laboratories. The lab benches are made of wood which surprised me. This enables scientists to bolt equipment into place to prevent the items from moving around when the ship is at sea. We also visited the bathymetric mapping system area. This is where the bottom of the ocean is mapped. Kathleen showed us the bridge, where the navigators and captain perform their duties, the helicopter pad (they have this huge, garage-like area to stow a helicopter!), and an area used to drop an instrument designed to collect water samples from various depths.

The "Palmer' is able to break through three feet of ice! At this time, the "Palmer" has completed over 60 research cruises and has traveled around the entire Antarctic continent! Can you understand why we were so excited at the opportunity to see this unusual vessel?

Answer to yesterday's questions: The full moon looks the same here in the Southern Hemisphere as it would in the Northern Hemisphere EXCEPT that it appears upside-down! And the word of the day was KIWI!

Today's question: Who was Nathaniel B. Palmer?


JUST FOR KIDS!!!!!!! Today we had an exciting adventure! We traveled to Lyttleton Harbor and we were invited aboard the "RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer", a ship that was built for solving science problems on the ocean. The really interesting thing about the "Palmer", though, is that it can sail in seas that are frozen! It is known as an "ice breaker" because it is able to break through the ice! The "Palmer'" has sailed on more than 60 research cruises and has gone completely around Antarctica!

A very nice scientist, Kathleen Gavahan, gave us a tour of the ship. She showed us where the scientists and crew lived. There are bedrooms, a galley (a kitchen, to you and me), a room where you can watch television, and a gym for exercising. She also showed us the laboratories where the scientists work. We were able to walk to the bridge. The bridge is the area where the captain sits and the navigator decides in which direction the ship should go There is even a place for a helicopter! What an exciting day!

The answer to yesterday's question about the moon is this. The moon looks the same except that it is upside down! And the word for the day was Kiwi!

Today's question: Who was Nathaniel B. Palmer?

Tomorrow I hope that I am able to board my plane for Antarctica!


The Nathaniel B. Palmer in dock at Lyttleton Harbor. <>

In the galley (where else would you find us?) l - r Maite, Bess, Julie, Mark, and Sharon <>

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