Friday, December 30, 2011

Tears and hope for an adopted home

Christchurch, New Zealand continues to be battered by earthquakes, and traveling through town on the way to/from Antarctica was a sobering experience. So many homes and businesses are in ruins.

I spent a solemn hour at the site of the Devon B & B, which had to be demolished. I've stayed there every season, and now understand how it feels to be left homeless.

One wish for 2012: May the earth settle so that Christchurch can heal.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fixing what's broken ... well, the easy stuff to fix

Stuff breaks. When that happens in the middle of nowhere, it helps to have a handful of different adhesives for repairs.

A split watch band is difficult to fix. Fortunately, our pal Henry was visiting and he had a pouch of some blue goop that works well with plastic ...

... it fixed Cecil's sunglasses, too ...

... and my bifocals ...

... this is what you see ...

... and this is what I saw

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Team Bravo(!) 043

I've been remiss by not introducing the members of our 2011 research team. I'll post more complete introductions and detail each person's role in the project at a later date. For now, from left to right:

Laura Von Rosk - Art/science collaborator (Schroon Lake, NY)
Cecilia Shin - Lead research diver and camp safety officer (University of California Santa Cruz)
Dr. Jan Pawlowski - Molecular protistologist (University of Geneva, Switzerland)
Danielle Woodward - Youngest research diver in Antarctica (Hilo, HI)
Hilary Hudson - Research diver, documentary film maker
Dr. Sam Bowser - Principal Investigator (Albany, NY)
Dr. Andrew Gooday (pictured below in the Explorers Cove lab) - Biological oceanographer (National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, U.K.)

Our project centers on characterizing the ~20 new species of foraminiferan protists we have identified in past work, and on obtaining information on the genetics of these organisms.

More about that as results pour in!

Friday, December 9, 2011

"The Look" on ice ...

People often ask what we wear around camp. Here's a sampling of our "look" (eat your heart out,
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta):

The well-dressed Antarctic frogman wears dry suit by DUI, glacier glasses by Julbo, and Shibori scarf by Pavlos Mayakis ( ...

After work, casual wear includes T-shirt "Go Back" by Emek ( and Under Armour "Team Barriage" pants. Gloves and bunny boots issued by USAP.

Hair sanitized daily with Purell; coiffed by Antarctica ...

Photos courtesy Laura Von Rosk

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hotsie Yoga

What to do in -20 weather while melting dive holes at the bottom of the world? Take up Yoga!

We use a "Hotsie" to circulate warmed glycol thru a stainless steel coil (i.e., a "finger"), which melts sea ice to fashion dive holes. It's a noisy, lengthy process (1-2 days per hole, depending on ice thickness), and as the sun goes down and the temperature drops, you can get very cold monitoring its progress, fueling the burner (diesel) and feeding its 5 kW generator (gasoline).

Last year, Cecil Shin (right, holding the finger) showed me some meditative Yoga moves, which we adopted to make tending the Hotsy a bit more enjoyable.

Tadasana modified for Hotsie hose: Heat applied to the brachial artery/vein helps keep the upper extremities functional.

Yoga poses while draped with the Hotsy hose helps stretch cold, old, aching muscles ...

And their melodic, pulsatile vibration allows one to get lost in the moment, mindful of the sublime beauty of Explorers Cove.