Visit the HMS Endurance!
Today the HMS Endurance came to visit Palmer Station. The ship anchored out past an offshore island. About forty people from the Endurance came ashore in Zodiacs. Several of us from Palmer Station went out to visit the ship. We were met by David Griffiths, the Executive Officer of the HMS Endurance. He is second in command of the entire ship.
He told us that the Endurance does hydrographic work. The people on board use technology to survey and measure the depth of the water. The crew (of 120 people) has three missions:
Right now there are 12 scientists who are being flown to remote field sites in the two helicopters from the Endurance. They are studying the geology of the area.
It was great to visit the ship named for the famous ship that carried Sir Ernest Shackleton and his group to this general area in 1914-1916. It was also an adventure, because we had to climb a rope ladder to get up onto the ship from the Zodiac. The ladder kept moving up and down as the ocean swells moved the Zodiac. Then, when we returned to the Zodiac, the seas were rougher and the winds were high. The HMS Endurance has a great crew to help people on and off the ship.
The ride back to Palmer was a wild one, with lots of swells, winds, white caps, and spray. Our Zodiac was ably driven by Stephanie Suhr, a scientist from Southampton Oceanography Centre (United Kingdom) working in collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey. Stephanie is studying foraminifera. These are single-celled organisms living on the bottom of the seafloor.