Sunday, May 13, 2007


12 May 2007

A bunch of us from the boat went into town for one last outing before

we sail tomorrow. One of the local drinks is called a Pisco Sour. I

believe the ingredients are sour mix, powered sugar, one egg white,

and a local alcohol called Pisco. They are pretty tasty. At one

point, most of the people left except myself and a few of the Marine

Techs (MT). After a few Pisco Sours, some beer, and some other

drinks, we left there and went to a local hangout that was basically

an 80?s Heavy Metal bar. We had another beer and then we headed out.

The MTs went to their hotel and I headed for the dock. I didn?t

really know what time it was, but when I arrived at the gate, it was

locked. We were issued access cards when we arrived and we used them

to get access to the docks by running them through a card reader. The

place was all locked up and I thought I?d be sleeping on the bench out

front. A few minutes later, car pulled up that wanted through and a

guard came out to talk to them. Good thing. The guard looked at my

card and let me in through the guard booth. I made it to my room and

realized it was 3:30am. One of the engineers that I?ve been working

with at Palmer was heading back to the states, so I asked him to bring

me some postcards so I could fill them out for Abby. Juanita from the

office agreed to mail one every 4 or 5 days so that she wouldn?t get

them all at once. I decided that since the boat was leaving in less

then 6 hours, I?d better get them all filled out now. I went down to

the galley and stayed up for about another hour filling them out. We

had breakfast and role call at 7:30am?in 4 hours.

I got up around 7am and found Herb, our MPC (Marine Projects

Coordinator). He basically runs the operations of the science and

anything not related to actually operating the boat. I hope that

makes sense. The captain runs the ship with regard to maintenance,

navigation, piloting, etc. and Herb manages the science and those of

us on board for other reasons (transit, station supplies, etc).

Anyway, Herb agreed to get the postcards to Juanita as I really wasn?t

supposed to leave the boat within two hours of leaving port.

We left Punta Arenas about 0900 EDT. The wind had really picked up

last night and was blowing about 30 knots. I don?t know what the

converts to in mph, but it was strong. Anyway, everything was calm in

the morning and we spent most of the time until lunch out on the deck.

After lunch, we had our safety briefing. It covered basic boat

safety with regard to getting around on the ship, float suit

instruction, what to do in an emergency, and a tour of the life boats.

All pretty straight forward.

I learned afterward that we are very likely going to stop by an

Emperor Penguin colony at some part of the cruise! We are stopping

there to check on a colony that has seen MAJOR declines in population.

Two years ago there were about 200 pairs of birds and I guess last

year there were 9 pairs. Yes, 9. No one onboard knows why, but I?m

going to see if I can get more details. I?ve been fascinated with

penguins since I was a kid and Emperors are my favorite. I really

hope there are still some there.

We left the Straits of Magellan about an hour ago. I understand that

we should hit the Drake sometime tomorrow. The current forecast looks

good for our crossing, but the captain says that the weather can

change very quickly. The food has been pretty decent and so far, so

good with regard to seasickness. BTW, my email address on the boat is:

mike dot forrester at lmg dot usap dot gov

I apologize for the funny formatting, but I don?t want the spammers to

find it easy. Sound it out and it should make sense. I?m limited to

25K per day so please be brief and no attachments, but feel free to

drop me a line anytime. Since I have no Internet access, these posts

are being done blindly from email. Let me know if they are working.

Also, email is downloaded via the satellite modem around 0830, 1230,

and 1830 EDT. So please expect a delay. I?ll try and do shorter,

more frequent posts in time for the mail transfer. Cheers for now.

This post was written at 2100 EDT 12 May 2007.

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