The Adventure Continues

Yesterday, we dropped off the ten members of our team who came from the UK at the British research station Rothera on the Antarctica peninsula. It should be easier for them to get home quickly and easily from that location. After close to 60 days at sea together and all that came along with it - sediment, waves, ice, data, seals - it feels strange to still be out here on the ship without them.

Night shift selfie
The members of the NBP 20-02 Night Shift pose for a selfie on the bow of the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer during their last night of team work on the cruise. Clockwise from the upper left corner: PolarTREC educator Sarah Slack, Asmara Lehrmann, Rachel Clark, Elaine Mawbey, Ali Graham, and Santi Munevar.

The rest of us are continuing on to Palmer Station, where we will spend a day picking up some members of the summer team (now that the summer season is officially over) and getting tours of their facilities. It will be my first time walking on solid ground in a month and a half and my first time seeing new faces in real life since late January. I can't wait to meet some people that haven't already heard the four jokes I know.

The Zodiac returns from Rothera Station
The Zodiac returns from Rothera after dropping off the UK members of the NBP team.

After we leave Palmer Station, we are headed to Chile. Because no one on the ship has had any contact with anyone other than people in Antarctica for over 60 days, we are considered "quarantined" and will be allowed to pull up to the dock in Punta Arenas. Folks at the Antarctic Support Contractor are doing everything possible to figure out the best way to get us all home. I'm really enjoying the trip north, as we hug the edge of the continent, with coastlines and mountains in sight from the deck of the ship. And the longer we linger here, the more time I have to mentally, physically, and emotionally prepare myself for another crossing of the Drake PassageStrait, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans between Tierra del Fuego and the South Shetland Islands. Located about 100 mi (160 km) north of the Antarctic Peninsula, it is 600 mi (1,000 km) wide. - and for returning to a world that will be much, much different than the one I left back in January.

Views along the Antarctic Peninsula
Photos of rock outcroppings along the Antarctic Peninsula seem like black and white images. From the deck of the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer icebreaker.

Onboard the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer icebreaker off the southern edge of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Weather Summary
Pleasantly warm by Antarctica standards.
Wind Speed
9 knots out of the northwest
Wind Chill


Emily Fano

Thanks for the update Sarah. I am wondering where you all are, how you're faring and preparing to readjust to life on solid ground in a COVID-changed world that has drastically changed in a matter of months. Stay safe as you return to civilization everyone! Try to get some N95 masks for yourselves if possible.