Yesterday was our scheduled return to Punta Arenas, Chile, but because of some heavy ice and a brief detour from our planned route, we are a few days behind. We're now scheduled to get to port in Chile at 10:00 AM local time on Sunday, March 29. Our journey home beyond that is still not clear, but we know we will be able to stay safe on the ship (actually, staying on the ship is our only choice - we can't even set foot on land or we will lose our quarantined status) for as long as we need to.

    I haven't been updating the blog that often lately because we are done with science and because my students are no longer in the classroom and because I'm not sure everyone wants to read escapist Antarctica tales. I'm going to share a few of my favorite photos from Tuesday's transit through the Gerlache Strait - it was definitely the prettiest part of our trip - and then maybe officially pause the blog until we know how we are getting home. Another reason - on Tuesday evening, we moved into 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., where the water has sometimes been rough, and at other times also rough, so I feel like puking more than I feel like writing.

    Lenticular cloud formation
    Lenticular clouds are a common sight near Palmer Research Station in the Antarctica Peninsula.

    Passengers on the bow
    Passengers gather on the bow of the Nathaniel B. Palmer to enjoy the view.

    Albatross in flight
    Albatross in flight over the bow of the Nathaniel B. Palmer in the Gerlache Strait.

    View in the Gerlache Strait
    Snow covered peaks in Antarctica.

    Marine Tech Ryan Loftus
    Sunglasses selfie with the help of Marine Tech Ryan Loftus.

    Iceberg in the Gerlache Strait
    The sun struggles to make an appearance in the Gerlache Strait.

    Onboard the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer icebreaker in the Drake Passage en route to Chile.
    Weather Summary
    Comfortable temps and medium winds out of the northwest.
    4.8 C
    Wind Speed
    17.5 knots
    Wind Chill
    -8.7 C


    Bob Ross

    Sarah, I have looked for your blog every day. Thanks a bunch. Things are too weird here in the USA. You might want to take the slow way home.

    Matthew Pearce

    Thank you for posting this, I just share your expedition with our CCRI Education Ambassador Group, enjoy the view for all of us and safe travels.

    Janet Warburton

    I'm sure you are all anxious about your return. Enjoy the rest of your time at sea and with people so close! Thanks for your great journals and safe travels home.

    Judy Fahnestock

    Your journals have been first-rate Sarah! Thank you for sharing your experience and teaching us so much about what you have learned. We have all been thinking of you and wondering how this next step will go, knowing that you have a lot of people working hard to get you home. Please let us know when you have docked and made it off the ship. Good Luck and stay safe!

    Lisa Seff

    Hi Sarah! Just been going through your journals and saw your PolarConnect presentation. Nice job with the powerpoint, gives a really great view of the research your team is working on. I loved the sonar mapping diagrams, and as well as the penguin and seal photos. I hadn't heard of the Thwaites glacier specifically, so your research is super informative, I've passed it on to several middle and high school teacher friends of mine (I used to teach middle school, was a Science Olympiad coach and PolarTREC-ie in 2012 and 2017). I think they'll be happy to have it to use, especially where they're all suddenly teaching online and looking for good material.
    Thank you for the work your doing and safe travels home.
    take care,
    Lisa Seff

    Rachelle Travis

    Hi Sarah! Glad you're away and missing all the "fun" going on here. Adaliz has been hard at work with the rest of the science team figuring out how best to support us teachers. And of course CSTEP in on pause too.

    Not sure if you guys have regular access, but have you had a chance to do a live session with classes while you're stuck on the ship? I'd be happy to organize something, especially with my own students. :)

    Stay safe!

    Sarah Slack

    Hi Rachelle-
    Wish I'd seen this while I was still on the ship- we had a few days with good access while we sat in port in Punta Arenas. I'm home how and would be happy to set up a webinar series with classes- let's chat via email about some ideas. Hope you and your family are well!

    Rachelle Travis

    So glad to hear you're home safe! I'll be reaching out via email for sure but I figure you need some time to get oriented now!! It's a whole new world. Glad to have been able to live vicariously through you and your blog posts :)