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20 November, 2000

Hello Antarctica fans,

While learning how to use the zodiac, in boating school, we stopped on Torgersen Island. This Island was full of penguins. There were hundreds of Adelie penguins. Many of them were sitting on eggs, fighting over pebbles or heading out for open waters to feed. There were several brown Skua's looking for the opportunity to grab a penguin egg. The penguins also had to be wary of the leopard seal that was swimming around the island searching for a penguin for lunch. The Island also had a visiting Crab Eater Seal relaxing on the rocks. It didn't appear that he was worried about anything.

There are four of us on our team. Our Leader, Principal Investigator is Ray Smith and is also the current lead scientist here at Palmer Station. Also on our team is Kirk Ireson, a technician at University of California at Santa Barbara, Sarah Searson a technician from Great Britain and of course myself. Many of the Palmer residents call me that teacher guy. I find this really amusing. Every time I meet someone new, I say hello my name is Bill, I'm the teacher guy. Everybody has known for quite a while that a teacher was coming to Palmer and I have met nearly all 34 of the current residents.

Palmer Station is science heaven. The building that I sleep in has three floors. On the first floor there are 10 science laboratories. They are very well equipped but a bit cramped for space. The second floor is office space, communications, the kitchen and dining area, weather center and kitchen store room. The third floor is sleeping quarters for some of the residents at Palmer Station. The other main building is the GWR building. It is a two-story building. On the bottom floor there is a warehouse of equipment and supplies used on station along with a garage and a large room for the generators that power the station. The second floor has a recreation room, gym and more bedrooms. One interesting place I visited today was a van. The van is the cargo area of a semi truck. They use several of them for storage. I needed some plastic tubing, and was shown a van filled with science supplies. I was in heaven. If only I could figure a way to get that van back to El Paso. I doubt it would fit in my luggage.

Most of the day I spent working in the lab. We opened boxes and put together an electronics package that we will be putting in the water. The package contains an ac-9, MPAK3, a pump and a MVDS/OCP. The ac-9 will determine the spectral transmittance and spectral absorption of water over nine wavelengths. The MPAK3 is a device used to control other devices connected to it such as an ac-9 or a pump. The MPAK3 also has the capability of storing the data, or numbers, sent to it by other pieces of equipment. Finally the MVDS/OCP, which is the Mulitchannel Visible Detector System/ Ocean Color Profiling System, is a device that measures the downwelling irradiance and the upwelling radiance.

More on all of this tomorrow Same time, same station.

-- Bill (The teacher guy)

Adelie penguins on Torgersen Island.

A Brown Skua looking for eggs for breakfast.

An Adelie showing me her egg.

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