At Palmer Station, boating is one of the most important activities. Because the station is located on an island, boats are the only way to get on and off the station. We use boats to collect samples for science or to explore other islands just for fun. The scientists use rubber boats called Zodiacs for travel.
Before we can go boating, we have to take lots of safety classes in case our boat gets lost or stranded in the ice! We need to learn how to use a GPS, an instrument which tells you exactly where you are in the world so that someone can rescue you if you get lost.
We also have to learn how to pitch a tent …
…and use a small gas stove to make food in case a storm strands us on the island.
Finally, we are ready to go boating! In the coat room, me and a few other scientists put on bright orange suits called Mustang Suits. They are very thick and warm to protect us from the wind or freezing cold spray from the sea. They also protect us from the freezing water if someone accidentally falls in.
We also have to take a waterproof bag with extra clothes and some food and water in case we get stranded. Here I am preparing my bag with extra thick gloves and a warm hat to protect my ears.
We pile our equipment for sampling into the boat and push off from the shore!
Sometimes there are big chunks of ice floating on the water and we have to drive the boat very slowly. Two scientists in a boat next to us are collecting their water samples.
Today we saw a Crab-eater seal while boating! It was sleeping on an ice floe and catching some rays of sunlight. We drove the boat by him very carefully to not wake him up.
Boating is all about being safe and having fun! Do you have any questions about boating at Palmer Station?