Halloween was Kim Bernard’s birthday, and luckily the weather was nice enough that night to go recreational boating. Palmer Station is situated in the middle of about a dozen islands, a few of which can be used for recreational use. Most of the islands we are not allowed to visit because of the nesting animals however Torgie has flagged areas that we can visit and there are a few where we are free to roam. Torgersen island (Torgie) is interesting because that is where a decient amount of the local Adelie penguins nest, however half of the island is flagged off to see how humans directly impact their nesting and survival. The island we chose to visit is Old Palmer, also known as Amsler island in honor of the Amslers (research divers who frequent Palmer Station). Old Palmer is the site of the old Palmer Station which used to be a British station before we took it over. There are no buildings left there but you can see the foundation of where the station used to be. When you visit the islands you have to follow the Antarctic treaty which basically says if you alter an animals behavior then you are too close! 50 feet is about a guidline of how close you are allowed to get to the animals. You have to be careful you don’t step on a nest or cause an elephant seal to charge through a penguin colony because the effects can be detramental. Beyond the animals, at this latitude we still have some plants and moses that you have to try not to step on.
On our way home we passed Elephant Rocks where Elephant seals like to hang out. There were two lage males one resting in the water and one on shore, as well as several females. The Elephant seals can be so loud on Elephant Rocks that they can be heard all the way back on station.