We arrived back at Palmer Station yesterday morning. We made a couple stops along the way...and then did circles for about 18 hours before laying the LMG against the dock. Let me explain...
We left Stonington Island (see a selfie and panorama) as I mentioned in my previous email. We were about a day and a half steam away. But science never rests...along the way we stopped at Deception Point to take some photos of the location for another investigator evaluating glacial-isostatic rebound (the lifting or settling of the continent after a glacier retreats...particularly important for sea level changes along the coast). He plans to install an accurate GPS that can measure changes in horizontal and vertical movement.
Next stop along the way, Peterman Island. We stopped for the researchers onboard interested in old peat deposits as a record of paleo-climate. I was lucky enough to go along with them...and took along Emma Walsh's pal, Flat Stanley (Emma, Stanley and I had a blast! see photos). Although the weather was pretty blustery, blowing 40-45mph, the researchers had a successful trip and so did the rest of us. After a couple hours on Peterman, we headed to Palmer, planning to arrive before dinner. Well, the wind didn't let up, in fact, it increased to ~50 mph. Needless to say, we couldn't dock in such windy conditions, so we had to lay off station until it lightened up a bit...18 hours later! See the picture of our cruise track that 18 hours...we were essentially doing doughnuts.
Sometimes in science you feel like you are just going in circles looking for the answer...and sometimes, well, you are actually going in circles!
We ultimately tied up yesterday, reunited with my team for the final push to pack and clean our gear and labs. We had our final inspections this morning and the crew moved aboard the LMG. So, at this point our science is essentially done. Rather, we are done collecting samples...the analysis will continue for weeks, months. We did set up a few instruments in the lab on the LMG to continue our analysis as we steam north (leaving Monday morning). So, this afternoon gave us a little time to relax... Those that know me know I don't do "relaxing" very well. So I challenged the team to a disc golf tournament. Oh yes, there is a course in the "backyard". Ok, it isn't a traditional disc golf course...the holes are large boulders, not chains. Regardless, we had a good time...and heack, it's dics golf in the Antarctic (see first picture of Jared on hole 4) Rick took the championship cup...coming in 2 under the next closest person, me!!! (BTW, I hate losing) Nice job Rick!! (the last picture is of Rick when he closed the lid on the game...we were running neck and neck until this hole. He got three strokes on me on this one hole!)
So, on Monday we begin our long steam toward home, stopping at Cape Shirreff along the way...more at that point!