Tag Archives: Drake Passage

Commuting to Work on an Icebreaker

There are two sets of scientists on this voyage to Antarctica. One set will spend six weeks on the ship studying the waters, the plankton, and the whales off the Antarctic Peninsula. They do this voyage every year, collecting a long-term data set that shows us how the region is changing.

We’re in the other set—our work takes place at Palmer Station, and we’re just hitching a ride on the Gould. We’re like commuters riding the subway to a job, except our subway is a 230-foot icebreaker and our commute is 600 miles long. We act like subway commuters: we pack ourselves into whatever spare space is available; we do prep work and planning so we’re ready to begin as soon as we reach Palmer Station; and we spend our spare time admiring the scenery outside.

Read on about our commute from South America to the Antarctic Peninsula in this slideshow:

A Dolphin That Looks Like a PandaKeeping Us on the Strait and NarrowAlmost Like Part of the LuggagePutting Valuable Time to UseDoing Science From a Moving ShipA Sky Full of AlbatrossesHalfway Across the “Fearsome” Drake PassageMidnight, New Year’s Eve

Note #1: See an example of a radar map of the surface currents at Palmer Station in the very first post on this blog.

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