Time-Lapse Tour of the Ship

The Palmer spent most of today on the move. We steamed 180 miles northeast of Ross Island to recover a glider for Dr. Walker Smith of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Then we turned toward Station 16 (see Jan 28 post), about 120 miles to our northwest. Along the way we are sampling the water and the mud on the seafloor. We sailed into thick gray clouds and a few snow squalls, but the winds were light and our passage was smooth.

Early in the morning, the ship’s computer specialist, Bill Jirsa, printed out an enormous version of the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle and pinned it to the bulletin board. Throughout the day groups of scientists gathered in the corridor brainstorming answers. If anyone knows a tributary to the Ubangi that has four letters and starts with a ‘U’, please let us know.

With so much steaming time, Chris and I decided to take you on a tour of the ship. We’ve told you about most of the parts of the ship now, but to give you an idea of how they’re all connected, we made a time-lapse video. Watch closely and see what you can see:


Download the Quicktime version (12.9 MB)

Follow us through the ship.

This is where we went:

  1. We started in the Forward Dry Lab, where people work at computers. I’m putting my boots on.
  2. From there we went into the Bio Lab, where we ran into Dr. Bob Sanders (see yesterday’s post).
  3. Next was the cold room, where there’s a dissecting microscope.
  4. Across the hall is the Aft Dry Lab, with a yellow glider on a work bench.
  5. Next is the Baltic Room, with the CTD rosette (Jan 20 post).
  6. From there we walked past the ‘Bubble’ (Jan 26 post). Dr. Phoebe Lam was inside.
  7. Out on the main deck we looked into Dr. Measures’s trace-metal van (Jan 26 post).
  8. We looked off the fantail and watched our wake.
  9. Then we headed upstairs to the 01 deck.
  10. We go through some narrow passageways and then stop in a bedroom with its two bunk beds.
  11. We go up another flight of stairs to the 02 deck.
  12. We walk along the port side to the bow and take a look around. Behind us, up high, is the bridge, where the captain and mates drive the ship. This is also where Dr. Josh Kohut sets up ‘Glider Base’ (Jan 21 post).
  13. We turn and walk back along the starboard side, under a lifeboat, then cut across the ship to end up on the port side again.
  14. We go up three more levels to the bridge and walk around the catwalk outside the bridge and over the water.
  15. On the bridge, third mate Chris Peterson is at the window, and second mate Gary Talbot is writing notes in the logbook. They’re in charge of the bank of instruments and monitors that help them control the ship.
  16. Next we go up three sets of ladders to get to the conning tower (Jan 29 post), where we have a bird’s eye view of the ship and the Ross Sea.
  17. Then it’s down five flights of stairs, past some beautiful Antarctic photography hung on the walls, and into the galley, where it’s suppertime.
  18. Scientists and crew are gathered here eating prime rib, vegetable risotto, and fresh-baked bread.
  19. The people at the first table are Dr. Bob Sanders, Dr. Allen Milligan, Dan Ohnemus, Dr. Lam, Ana Filipa Carvalho, Dr. Josh Kohut, Dr. Rebecca Gast, and Eli Hunter.
  20. Chris takes a pass down the food line and ends at possibly the most important part of the entire ship—the dessert counter
  21. I’m eating a cinnamon roll.

Scavenger hunt

See if you can spot the answers to these questions:

  • Did you see Dr. Josh Kohut working on his computer just as we started?
  • Did you notice I put on an orange jacket before going out on the main deck? That’s a ‘float coat.’ It blocks wind and contains flotation like a life jacket, so it’s both warm and safe.
  • Did you see what the Bubble is decorated with?
  • What color is the main deck painted?
  • Did you see where the zodiac is kept when it’s not in the water?
  • How many flights of stairs up from the main deck is the bridge?
  • How many penguins did you see?
  • What color are the lifeboats?
  • Which part of the ship would you want to work in if you were here?

Curious about where exactly we went?

Take a look at this map. It shows our route through the Main Deck, up to the 01 Deck and 02 Deck, and then up to the Bridge (which isn’t shown here). From the bridge we went downstairs all the way to the galley, where the video ends.

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About Hugh Powell

Hugh is a staff writer at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and is on special assignment with the Rutgers University Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences. He has previously written for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

23 Responses to “Time-Lapse Tour of the Ship”

  1. Try “Uele”

  2. BTW-What were the framed pieces on the wall in the stair landings? They looked interesting…

    • Hi canagica, the Palmer is decorated with a mix of amateur and professional photos, most of them given to the crew of the Palmer by grateful scientists and others who’ve spent time on the ship. There are some amazing images by photographers from the Antarctic Artists and Writers program. One of my favorites is an Emperor Penguin that has walked in a circle and now seems confused. There are also some plucky Adélies standing on the shore at Cape Royds, as well as a very impressive photo of the Palmer locked in what looks like a solid sheet of ice. p.s. thanks for ‘Uele’ – it fits!

  3. That Hugh Powell is a dashing young man. I really wish he got more camera time! Sorry to all the scientists on board, who have been fascinating — but this was my favorite post yet. It was too fast though! Really glad to see Penguino in his native habitat (or was it Wambo?) And mad props to whoever’s idea it was to string up the fairy lights — it gives me renewed faith in humanity. 🙂

  4. How long was this video in real-time?

  5. LOVE the video! Is the deck always snowy and/or wet? Is it slippery?

    • Hi Kelly, thanks and glad you like the video. In good weather the deck is dry and easy to walk over. When it’s cold and we’re in waves, water splashes up onto the deck and freezes. Then it can be dangerous to walk over. This morning we had a pretty good snowstorm and wound up with a few inches of snow on the decks.

  6. Jessica from HFS February 1, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Wow! The ship is huge! Can you feel when the boat travels over a piece of ice?

    • Hi Jessica. Yep, the ship is pretty big, but we can still feel it when we hit a piece of ice and start to go through it. And we can certainly hear it—in the galley it’s so loud we can’t talk to each other.

  7. From Ciana, Period 2 Science
    What is your emergency action plan on the ship when rough waters occur? And how much does it affect your journey?

    • Dear Ciana, We’ve been lucky not to have very rough waters on this trip so far. The only time it has impacted our work has been when it’s too rough to put the little zodiac boat into the water. We’ve had to postpone a glider launch because of it. Otherwise, the Palmer just steams through the waves and we rock back and forth.

  8. Whats your favorite food on board?
    And what is your least favorite food?

    • Hm, my favorite food might be the white bean soup that the cook makes with sausage. I put that over rice and have pickled jalapenos to spice it up. Yum! My least favorite food: banana bread. Yecch.

  9. What happens when the ship starts to sink? Do you get on the lifeboat? Where do you go once you are on the lifeboat?

    • Hi Brianna. We’d prefer to talk about ‘if’ the ship starts to sink, rather than ‘when’! But we do practice what to do. If the Captain were to order ‘Abandon Ship’ he’d give seven short rings and one long ring on the very loud alarm bells. We’d go to our rooms and grab our life preserver and our rubberized survival suit that is designed to keep us alive for at least a little while in these frigid waters. Then we’d go up to the conference room in the 03 Deck. We do that so that someone can check our names off and make sure everyone’s accounted for. If anyone’s missing we know we have to go look for them. Then, as calmly as possible, we’ll go get on the lifeboats and we’ll get lowered into the water. The lifeboats are completely covered to help us stay dry, and they have a motor and some preserved food on board.

  10. olivia paolillo February 2, 2011 at 8:25 am

    What exactly is a c-14 ?

    • Dear Olivia, C is the scientific abbreviation for the element carbon. The 14 refers to its atomic weight. I bet in your science classroom there’s a periodic table of the elements hanging on the wall. You’ll see that the normal atomic weight for carbon is about 12, corresponding to the 6 protons and 6 neutrons that carbon atoms usually have in their nucleus. But some carbon atoms end up with 2 extra neutrons, and so their molecular weight is 14. The extra neutrons make the atoms unstable, so they become radioactive. They emit radioactive particles at a slow and steady rate until they’ve reached a stable mass. It’s this slow rate that allows scientists to carbon-date, or determine how old objects are by measuring their carbon-14. The scientists on this expedition use it for a different purpose, to follow where carbon atoms go as photosynthesis happens (see Feb 2 post).

  11. What was that room you looked into for?Any thing important?

    • Dear Emily – not sure what room you meant, because we looked into quite a few! Maybe you meant the bedroom with the two bunk beds? We just wanted you to get a chance to see where people live when they’re on the ship. Or maybe you meant the white room with all the lab equipment in it that was on the main deck? That’s Dr. Chris Measures’s trace metal lab, where he analyzes tiny amounts of dissolved iron in the water (see Jan 26 post).

  12. that was the one! The 2nd one you metioned. But could you explain wy you dissolve iron? Please?

    • Hi Emily, glad we got that figured out! Dr. Measures’s team is not dissolving any iron. They’re looking at seawater and determining how much iron is dissolved in it. They’re doing that so they know how much iron is available to phytoplankton, which need it in order to grow. The analysis is quite complicated (we wrote about it in the Jan 26 post)—if you look closely in the time-lapse you can see graduate student Max Grand’s head in the window. He was in there doing the analysis when we came by.

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