April 21, 2009
This is most definitely my most memorable Earth Day! Waking on the ship and meeting Kristin for a morning run- last one for a while that will not be on a treadmill! We met at 7 a.m. on the lab deck of the ship, as we had to be back onboard by 8 a.m. to gear up for departure from the dock at 10 a.m. It was noticeably windier this day than the previous and the sun was rising a few minutes later, so we began out from the ship in the dark. As a few more minutes passed, we looked out over the water and saw one of the most incredible sunrises that I have ever seen. It was a dark sky with one hole in the center through which the sun's light was coming. Kristin assured me that there will be many more incredible sunrises to view from Palmer Station and mentioned how spectacular the moon views can be as well. It just keeps getting better! I forgot to inquire about Kristin's running before we left and it became apparent that I should have as, her speed was quicker than mine and the hills we came across were something that I did not get a lot of practice with at home! However, it was nice to have a quicker paced runner because I tend to get in a rut with my speed running by myself most times. I immediately thought of my good friend, Anderson, and the need to run with her more when I return! Great way to start the day and get my legs stretched out before we departed.
Got my camera prepared for the departure and got some great shots with Wayne's camera that he so graciously let me borrow! I used the wide-angle lens (12-24 mm) for the first time and was able to take some neat shots of the ship, Nathaniel Palmer, which was docked behind us. I learned that these ships are owned and operated by the Edison Gould Company from Louisiana and they have 300 ships worldwide in operation! So incredible. The Palmer was noticeable bigger than the LMG. I also took pictures of the landscape of Punta Arenas noting the colored metal rooftops that were indicated in the travel book that I brought. After standing on the bow of the ship for a while soaking it in, I came back in for a great lunch of vegetable lasagna (so considerate of the Chef! - apparently there are quite a few vegetarians on board), bread and green beans.
At 3:00 p.m. we had our Safety Meeting on board. We were alerted to the responses for different drills, how to put on our "Gumby" or Survival Suits in case of an abandon ship alarm and how to correctly use the PFD (personal flotation device). We also took a tour of the lifeboat and learned the triggers for the life rafts that will deploy if the ship were taking on water. Very good information that I hope I don't have to use!
In the lab, we also had another safety meeting regarding the placement of waste in different compartments as paper waste is actually burned on board in an incinerator, but anything chemical has to be deposited as hazardous waste.
We exited the Straits of Magellan at about 5:00 p.m. and the pilot assisting the Captain through exited the ship. There is concern that there is a low-pressure system that will affect our travel through Drake's Passage, but we won't know for sure until tomorrow.