WooHoo

An Adelie Penguin in the colony at Cape Royds, Antarctica.
Photo by Robin Ellwood (PolarTREC 2008), Courtesy of ARCUS
This looks just like the one I saw, only closer! Yes, it finally happened! I saw a penguin! It was a cute little Adelie that was not too fond of having it's picture taken. It waddled away before I could get a picture. At least I could say now that I saw one! We just had to try tobogganing like the penguins! Mandy said it's not as easy as they make it look!

Mt Erebus
12,000 foot Mt. Erebus

Catchin'

We went out on a 2 hour piston bully ride yesterday to Cape Evans Ice Wall to try and collect a few adult borks. It was a nice sunny day, but the wind was sure blowing. The dive huts have been pulled already. As the temperature of the ice gradually warms through the season, it becomes weaker. It has gotten to a point that it won't be safe long for the big Challenger tractors to come out on the ice, so they have started pulling the diving huts back to shore.

Denise Hardoy with the Jiffy Drill
Denise Hardoy with the Jiffy Drill
Fishing hole
Cleared hole drilled with the Jiffy Drill and ready to fish.
Jiffy Drill
The Jiffy drill with two flight ready to go.
That meant...no hut or diving hole for us. We brought out a "Jiffy Drill." It is kind of a fun machine to operate. You start it up with a pull cord, just like many other small machines. Then you attach the drill bit. I would guess that it is about ten or twelve inches diameter. It has sections(flights) of bit that you can add as you go to make it longer. We needed three flights for one of the holes. We were at first trying to drill near the cracks, as that's were the fish we were looking for like to hang out.

Denise Hardoy drops her line in to begin fishing.
Let the fishing begin!
We finished drilling and dropped our lines in the water ...just below the ice, and waited. Nothing was biting. So, Dr. Todgham changed our strategy. We dropped our lines to the sea floor and began to fish for a different benthic species- T. Newsonii. Dr. Todgham caught two in rapid succession. By the time my line hit the bottom, I too had a bite. I quickly flicked my wrist to set the hook and reeled it in. We are using barbless hooks so we don't injure the fish. Once clear of the water, I had to get him immediately into our cooler of water, or he would freeze. They can handle 28 degrees, but the air temperature was much colder- especially with the wind chill. No time for fish on a line pictures!

Dr. Todgham helped me get the hook out of his mouth. My fingers were frozen and didn't seem to be working right, so I really appreciated her help. You could tell she has done way more ice fishing than me! I dropped the lure back in, and another was on the line even before it hit the bottom. We kept at it until we had all the adults that we needed to do the study. It really made an impression on me the importance of being flexible with science protocols. The day could have been a bust- no Borks were biting. But with a change in strategy, Dr. Todgham took advantage of the opportunity to use a different related species. The team will try again on another day to find the other species. But, until then, work will continue on these T. newsonii.

Unloading fish
Dr. Todgham unloads our catch into the big holding tank back at the lab.
Tremotomas newsonii
One of our T newsonii in the holding tank

Lasers in Space!!!

LiDAR lab
CiCi showing us her lab
Amy Osborne and I were fortunate enough to be invited to visit the LIDOS lab up at arrival heights yesterday evening. Thank you CiCi for the amazing tour! Cici has a PhD in electrical engineering and is also one of the nicest people you could meet. She was able to explain their work in a way that I could mostly follow.
LiDAR
LiDAR
As I understand it, the project uses different laser beams to analyze the iron and sodium in our upper atmosphere. These particles are remnants of meteors that have burned up on entry. They use the laser beam to raise the energy level of the electrons of the iron, then record it as it falls back to it's normal energy level.
Yellow Laser Beam
Yellow Laser Beam
Yellow Laser
The laser beam travels down this tube, reflects on the mirror and shoots up the tube to the atmosphere.
LiDAR Computer
Data is recorder here for analysis
It is a very high tech way to measure the temperature 90 thousand feet above the Earth. They use a different wavelength laser to do a similar procedure with sodium. It uses the doppler effect somehow to monitor the sodium. They get a lot more information from analyzing the feedback from these lasers, but that's where she lost me.
Green Laser
The green laser shielded behind plastic sheets. any little particle or disturbance would cause distortion of their data.

They have an amazing amount of sophisticated equipment in a very small space that they share with New Zealand. CiCi and her co-worker alternate twelve hour shifts monitoring the equipment.

Red laser
Red Laser
Seeing the laser beams and all the equipment was quite an impressive sight. Just like the hand held laser pointers, you definitely have to be careful not to expose your eyes to some of the wavelengths.
Protective glasses to safely look at the beam
Protective glasses to safely look at the beam

As an added bonus, the views from Arrival Heights were spectacular.

The view from Arrival Heights
The view from Arrival Heights

You can even see far off Cape evans...by the islands, where we did our fishing that morning.

Our morning fishing spot in the far distance from Arrival Heights.
Our morning fishing spot in the far distance from Arrival Heights.

I can't believe I only have one more full day here! I'm planning on making the best of it!

Stay Cool,

Author
Date
Weather Summary
Beautiful day
Temperature
28 F
Wind Speed
gusting to 30 knots
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Comments

Pam Hernandez (not verified)

Placed Based Science makes all the difference! You’ve shown us how hands on real science is. Being able to apply what is learned has a profound impact on mastery. It’s quite something to see you drilling through ice in Antarctica, Denise! I can’t believe this phase of this experience is coming to a close. You will be welcomed with so much love and excitement when you come home! I’m looking forward to your impact having this experience as part of your expertise! Exclamation marks everywhere:)

Chloe (not verified)

It is so sad that you only have one more day there. It seems like only yesterday you set off for your big adventure. On the bright side, you will get to see your San Antonio Wildcats and be back in the classroom! See you soon Mrs. Hardoy..safe travels.

Sue Morrow (not verified)

So excited that you got to see a penguin! Tobogganing like one not so easy, but looked fun. This has been such an amazing journey to follow, I can't believe it's nearly over. The amazing science experiences you have to share, the amazing life experiences too. See you back in CA. where we almost hit freezing (33 this morning).

Tanner King (not verified)

Can't wait. Too bad you have to come back. your journals were amazing. See you soon

barbara hartman (not verified)

Thank you Denise for sharing these weeks of your awesome adventure !! and thank you to Mike and family for doing w/out you for a bit of time. Happy Thanksgiving to you and the Hardoy's. God bless you, b