||May 11, 2000
Leaving Punta Arenas
Hamilton students on the helicopter deck with the lights of Punta Arenas fading away in the background. Students from left to right are: Courtney Zimmer, Nat Warner, Allison Drake, Marika Geertz, Dave Carlson, Sarah Lichtenstein, and Dan Catlin.
Wednesday morning was spent in various orientation and safety meetings, as well as emergency drills. One drill involved getting into our emergency immersion suits and a practice evacuation of the ship to the enclosed lifeboats.
Around 3 pm the Research Vessel Gould, a sister ship to the Palmer, docked in Punta Arenas after a 2 week trip to the Antarctic resupplying Palmer Station for their winter over. A couple of researchers who were on last years Palmer cruise joined us for dinner and told us stories of smooth crossings of the Drake Passage and warm rainy weather at Palmer Station.
At 7:45 pm we left the dock in Punta Arenas and began our trip to Antarctica. We will travel north up the Straits of Magellan then turn south passing Cape Horn, a small island off the coast and enter the Drake Passage. Crossing the Drake Passage will take a couple of days and will probably be the roughest water we encounter on the trip until we cross the Drake on the way home. Once we get near the Antarctic continent, sea ice that will be building all winter long will dampen the waves making for smooth but cold sailing.
E- mail will be sent out twice a day on this trip, once in the morning and once in the early evening. I am working the midnight to noon shift on this cruise, and haven't quite figured out when I'll be sending e-mails.