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Journals 2008/2009

Megan O'Neill
Fairhope High School, Fairhope, Alabama

"Thermal Tolerance of Antarctic Fishes"
R/V Laurence M. Gould
April 21 - June 11, 2009
Journal Index:
April 17/18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25
        26 - 27 - 28 - 29 - 30
May 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11
       12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20
       21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 - 26 - 27 - 28 - 29
       30 - 31
June 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11

May 6, 2009
Sun Shines on the Elephant Seal Colony

My mission today was to take some video footage of the surrounding area and Palmer Station to be able to make a short video to share with students on Friday, so they can see some snow and ice. The Polycom set up for my interview is limited to the TV/reading room, therefore there is not a view of the spectacular scenery surrounding Palmer Station. Fortunately, the weather was cooperating with me today and made my expedition a worthwhile cause. I packed my camera, lenses, video camera and a snack in case I was out through lunch, signed out on the board (required for all outings) and grabbed a hand-held radio. Because my jeans and Vasque boots got soaked at the bottom on my last outing up the glacier, I threw on my ski pants and Sorel boots (winter weather, insulated rubber type boots with better traction). You can always pack layers in your backpack if needed because the weather can turn cold in an instant even when the sun is out. If the wind blows, you'd better be prepared. I am a big fan of being comfortable in the cold; therefore I take many layers and even some of my handy hand warmers just in case! My second trip up the glacier was much more pleasant than my first attempt the other day when the wind was howling across the glacier. Today the sun was shining and hardly any wind at all. I even was comfortable enough to sit down on the glacier, eat my snack and take some pictures. The view of the surrounding islands and water is just so great. I made my way around the big crevasse that is marked off with flags to the jut of land on the other side of Hero Bay to the south of the station which is called "Bonaparte Island." As I hiked over the rocks and picked my way through the deep snow in between the rocks, I heard the barks and went toward them. What do you know - about 12 elephant seals were napping on the shore while others were hanging out leisurely in the water. I was not close enough to cause alarm to them and I wanted to keep it that way! One kind of looked and hissed in my direction, but then calmed when I failed to make any further advances. I could have sat there all day listening to their noises, watching them interact and play, but I knew I needed to get back and help with the icefish dissections of the CT Max Experiments. I got some good pics and some video to share and then hiked back up the glacier and around to the station. What a great adventure with a beautiful day! I definitely decided that I have the best job in the world.

Jody Beers and Bruce Sidell conducting icefish dissection
Me helping Lisa and Kristin set up tubes for dissections

Elephant seals playing on Bonaparte Island