Taking the Scenic Route to Palmer Station

Once we reached the Antarctic Peninsula, the ship tucked into a narrow channel called the Gerlache Strait that runs between islands to the west and the peninsula itself to the east. By taking these protected waters, the captain knew that if a storm should blow in we’d be sheltered from the worst of the wind and waves—a measure of safety well worth the few extra miles it added to our voyage.

After spending a few days out of sight of land, the passengers of the Gould spilled out on deck to watch penguins speed through the water, look for the spouts of humpback whales, and admire mountains that seemed to be directly on top of us.

Click through the slideshow to travel with us down the Gerlache Strait to Palmer Station:

Chinstraps on GlassA Convergence of Ice ChunksWhale Spout in SunlightLookout From the Upper DeckDaylight at MidnightRed Sky at MorningThe Ceiling DescendsWelcome to Palmer Station

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  1. Brian Francisco January 7, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

    how often do you actually see the penguins face to face

    • Hugh Powell January 7, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

      Hi Brian – We see penguins pretty frequently. They often swim up to the zodiacs when we are out on the water, and they stick their heads up and look at us in the boat. A few birds come over to Palmer Station every so often and get out of the water to stand on the shore. The really large numbers of penguins are on the small islands offshore. We haven’t landed on any of those islands yet, but the bird scientists with Dr. Bill Fraser’s group goes out to them every day. We’ll go along with them in a few days and send you back some photos. Thanks – Hugh

  2. Danielle January 7, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

    These are really beautiful photos. Do you have trouble sleeping sometimes since it’s still so bright out at night?

    • Hugh Powell January 7, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

      Hi Danielle, The bunk rooms at Palmer Station have thick blinds you can close to make it good and dark, so it’s not that hard to sleep. Sometimes people stay out in tents, and then you have to pull your hat down over your eyes or wear a sleep mask in order to make it really dark. Thanks for asking! – Hugh

  3. Collin January 7, 2015 at 10:05 pm #

    My name is Collin and I am in 8 grade. One of you may now my teacher Amy Heckel. We are going to do a cool project later this month about project converge. I really like your blog! Is it hard to sleep since your eyes see daylight all day long?

  4. Mariana Salazar January 15, 2015 at 10:29 am #

    Hi Hugh,we need information for our science project. Can you please help us? Our question is “What is the effect of killer whales on Adelie penguin population?”

    • Hugh Powell January 17, 2015 at 5:03 pm #

      Hi Mariana – that’s an interesting question, and one that we’d probably need to collect data to answer specifically—for instance to know how much killer whales affect a specific Adelie colony. Around Palmer Station there are very few killer whales, so they probably don’t have much of an effect here. In general, I believe that killer whales do not eat many penguins—they tend to concentrate more on fish or marine mammals. Thanks for asking – Hugh