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18 November, 2000

I arrived at Palmer Station this morning at 7:30. It has been a very busy day. I have been introduced to Palmer Station life. I know that it will take me several days to get use to my new surroundings. Behind the station there is a glacier. I can't tell you exactly how big it is yet, but I know that it took me about 30 minutes to hike to the top. There are also several islands that are very close to Palmer. Many of them have penguins on them. There are birds nesting nearby on Bonaparte point. In addition to all that is surrounding me I will also be reporting back on the work I am conducting with Ray Smith. It's going to be busy, but I can tell you that all of you following my accounts will have some fun. Please be sure to e-mail me with your questions.

Okay, I know I promised you the good stuff on Deception Island. So here it is. Deception Island is a caldera volcano that is still active today. It only has one opening to the ocean, so it is protected from passing icebergs making it very unique. It sort of looks like the capital letter Q with its tail being replaced by a small hole. Anyway this well protected bay made the perfect place for whalers to set up shop in 1906, and later abandoned in 1931. If you go to visit the island the buildings are still in place and you can still find canned food on the shelves.

There are a group of researchers that are interested in Deception Island. Not necessarily for its history, but for its scientific value. Since this body of water is protected from icebergs it was the perfect place to examine life below the surface of the water and the water column itself. This would be a unique opportunity to see what happens to water and the sea floor even when there was a covering of ice. The scientist put together the necessary equipment to monitor the sea floor and the water using a remote system of gathering data.

Why do you think it's important to study zooplankton and phytoplankton, microscopic animals and plants that live in the water, in Antarctica?

Stayed tuned for tomorrow's episode when Bill learns how to use his very own zodiac and part two of Deception Island.


-- Bill

PS. The pictures were taken at Deception Island by a researcher on the last visit to Deception Island

One of the abandoned buildings on Deception Island

Inside of the whalers hut on deception Island.

A zodiac traveling to the island

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