Irregular Posts; Port Lockroy, and The Antarctic Continent at Brown Station

Monday, Dec 26 2011, Good Boxing Day, This is the procedure to go ashore.  Your group is called to the “mudroom” on the second deck where boots, zodiac life jackets are stored.  You are “dressed for the worst but hoping for the best”.  Five upper body clothes layers; inner wicking layer, second thin layer, fleece layer, parka with down layer and a Gore-Tex layer. Two or three leg layers – (insulated wicking if very cold or windy), warm XC ski pants, and waterproof pants.  Three foot layers – wicking liner, thick warm sock, waterproof boots.  Fleece hat, waterproof gloves for zodiac and then thinner working gloves for land/camera work.  Orange lifejacket on top.  Your camera/pack, perhaps in dry bags, is extra. Now dressed, get into the line.  The Checker sees that you are properly dressed.  Hand your identity swipe card to the Cardman at the computer, step into the disinfectant tube to clean your boots and bottom of your waterproof pants.  Out the ship’s door and down the external gangway to the zodiac.  Sailor’s grip to transfer to the zodiac, sit on the inflated wall, and get ready to go.  Zodiacs carry 8 or 10 passengers plus driver depending on conditions.  With waves and wind, you will get sprayed.  The return is basically the same procedure.  There is one additional step.  Boots and pant legs are washed down to remove salt water.  The salt destroys Gore-Tex and other gear. Monday the 26th is Boxing Day, we went to Port Lockroy on Weinke Island,.  This former WWII secret British listening post had been abandoned after the war.  It is now...

Irregular Posts; Palmer Archipelago, Bismarck Strait

Monday, Dec 26 2011, Greetings from the South, Internet connection is really problematic here.  “Don’t even try when there are mountains around.  Even in the Straits, it is iffy for satellites.”  Internet co$$t is by the MB not the minute.  They publish a trip log at http://www.gadventures.com/marine/triplog-login/ Username = 111221, Password = expedition.  Check it out for details that certainly are more factual than mine. Two days and four zodiac landings so far.  Sunday Christmas Day, we landed twice on Deception Island of the South Shetlands.  In the morning, it was a difficult one at Baily Head.  Zodiacs had to beach stern first!! so that they could go seaward again.  Deception Island is a collapsed caldera with a calm interior “bay” and a narrow bellows gap to the ocean. Bailey Head has a chinstrap penguin colony of 120,000 breeding pairs.  Nests with eggs or chicks are all over.  So is penguin guano…piquant aroma for sure; fishychickenshit.  These birds have right of way.  They can approach you but not the other way around.  We are to keep a 5 meter space unless penguins decrease it; 25 meters from nests.  Do not walk on their well-trodden “penguin highway” paths in the snow.  One massive Weddell seal lounged on the beach.  At 300 F, it was very warm for the birds even with the 20 knot wind.  We were comfortable in our goose down parkas. After lunch we entered the inner bay thru Neptune’s Bellows and into Telefon Bay.  Here was the most recent eruption spot from 1967 that destroyed the Chilean and British bases.  These small calderas were empty of water...

Irregular Posts; Ireland 6, Dublin

Tuesday June 21 Good Solstice Evening, Leaving Kenmare with a full stomach and with a bag of Jerome’s pastry, we again drove to some scenic spots on the Ring of Beara that we had not been able to go to before.  The photographer Eoghan Kavanagh suggested one in particular, the Glen of Inchiquin. Eoghan has a gallery near Foley’s Guest House and Pub in Kenmare.  His large prints draw viewers to the gallery window where he showcases his medium format camera images of the region.  Fine art images are printed on watercolor paper and mounted without mat in a white shadowbox frame.  He also shoots with a Seitz Round Shot.  This film camera rotates and exposes panoramas; no blending and stitching in Photoshop.  There was no way I could be there in the proper atmosphere to capture his evocative images.   But… The Glen has a very tall multi-finger waterfall cascading over black cliff faces, and into a stream that roars down the glen.  Sheep graze lazily along the path as you walk by.  Some have been shorn and are clean and white.  A bright colored “paint” on their neck identifies the owner.  The shaggy ones with now faded and dulled paint await their haircut. There was a small stone circle on this narrow lane road.  At the parking place below the hill top, Patrick Leary sat at his old car.  He was waiting for any tourist to come by to view the circle.  It cost two Euros each.  “I have postcards also, one euro each.”  One was a shot of him herding his sheep in a glen.  The...