Today officially marks being away from home for a month, and what a month it’s been! It’s hard to believe that in just the past month I’ve been from North Carolina to New Zealand and I’m now aboard the Palmer on my way to Antarctica. We are less than a week away from pulling up Antarctic aliens from the sea floor and I can’t wait! I’m Kyle Donnelly, a second-year graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington working towards my Masters in Marine Science. This is my second trip down to Antarctica aboard the NBP, and now that I have an idea of what’s waiting for me down there I think I’m more excited this time than I was last time! One of the best aspects of going to Antarctica is the scenery and the animals which both make for some fantastic photography. We haven’t seen any ice yet but that hasn’t stopped me from getting some nice pictures out at sea here! A few days ago a pod of dolphins were hanging out alongside the boat and I was lucky enough to snap some photos of them, as well as some photos of the giant birds (albatrosses?) we frequently get to see flying around outside. The world outside the boat is great and makes for some interesting photos – but the world inside the boat is great as well. Another aspect I love about being aboard the Palmer is the community. It’s rare to get the opportunity to be closely surrounded by passionate individuals for such a long period of time, and getting to live with people of different backgrounds that are all united by a passion for science and Antarctica is easily one of the best things about life here. Between the scientists, technicians and crewmates, there’s a really great group of people here all working towards a successful trip down to Antarctica, and there’s rarely a dull moment on the ship. I’m really looking forward to getting down to the ice, taking some iceberg and penguin photos and starting field work out here! I’ve added some of the photos I’ve taken so far, and more will be coming in my next post!
University of North Carolina Wilmington