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23 November, 2000

Hello Again,

Today we took the electronics package out for its first drop in the ocean. That made for a very exciting day. When I woke up this morning and had my first look outside I new it was going to be a good day. The sun was shining and there was hardly a cloud in the sky. Ray and Sarah made last minute preparations to the electronics package and zodiac while Kirk was busy taking water samples on the Palmer grid. There are a series of locations where water samples must be taken twice a week. A water profile is taken. They drop Niskin bottles to take samples at different depths, measure the temperature, salinity and conductivity. I was working on a database for the Sunphotometer. I'll tell you more on the Sunphotometer on another day.

About midmorning we met by the boathouse and loaded our equipment in the zodiac. The electronics package is very heavy. It takes three people to carry it. Once on the boat we attach it to a winch and a boom to deploy it. It was fun being out in a zodiac on such a beautiful day. It was the first time that I was able to see all of the mountains in the area. There were quite a few penguins out foraging as we were riding out to the spot where we deployed. It took a couple of trial runs until we developed a system to move the package off of the boat efficiently. Once in the water an interested Gentoo penguin swam around our boat and seemed to watch with keen interest. After we collected our data we brought the zodiac back to station. There the data will be downloaded and examined.

Back at station we had many visitors. It was such a beautiful day several penguins stopped by. One was a Gentoo penguin that laid an egg just three meters from our sidewalk. Two chinstrap penguins climbed the rocks and were sunning themselves. A Weddell seal and a Sheathbill were playing a game. The Sheathbill would fly down to a small pool of water and take a bath. He would splash the seal on purpose. The seal would get mad and growl at the little bird. This exchange went on for twenty minutes. The seal just wanted to lay and relax in the sunshine. See the pictures below.

We won't be celebrating Thanksgiving until Friday evening, and in the afternoon everyone on station will be enjoying house mouse. House mouse is the time that everyone on station is given a cleaning chore. I'm not sure what my job will be but I should find out soon. There are 34 people at Palmer Station and everyone is expected to help out. Also once a week you are supposed to sign up for gash. Gash is kitchen cleanup duty. There are four people that wash pots, pans, floors, tables, take out the trash, clean counters and other jobs. It normally takes about one to two hours. I signed up for Friday night gash. That way I might be able to snack on turkey leftovers. :-)

See you all tomorrow,

-- Bill

Chinstrap penguins enjoying the sun.

Weddell seal being annoyed by a playful Sheathbill.

Ray Smith informing Palmer Station of our location.

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