Hi there! My name is Damien Waits and I’m a contractor working with Ken Halanych at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Southern Ocean on two previous occasions, once aboard the RV Laurence M. Gould and once on the ship we’re on now, the RV Nathaniel B. Palmer. Each trip has had its up and downs, its surprises, and its spectacular moments, and our current cruise is shaping up to be no different.
Besides the thrill of adventure and the possibility of seeing new and amazing creatures from the deep, the views and scenery during our voyages are always something to look forward to. As soon as we stepped foot out of the shuttles, we were greeted by the impressive sight of the RV Nathaniel B. Palmer (Picture One). The ship is 308 feet long and capable of breaking 3 feet of ice at 3 knots. It has a total of 7 labs onboard that add up to almost 6,000 square feet of space for science.
Once aboard, we could look out and see the hills of New Zealand and the hustle and bustle of the port. Occasionally, you’d also get the rare view of an Electrical Technician (Picture Two). As the Palmer pulled away from the dock, we had the opportunity to take pictures of the coast of New Zealand (Picture Three). Once we get to Antarctica, the photographic moments are almost endless, but we’re not there yet, so I’ll show you one picture from our last cruise (Picture Four).
It's easy to overlook, but there is also something very special about the open ocean (Picture Five). After seeing that picture, my better half said, “One of the best things…To look and see nothing but the ocean” and I am of a similar opinion. It might seem like an endless expanse of the same sight, hour after hour, day after day, but if you look hard enough you can sometimes witness something truly magnificent (Video).
University of North Carolina Wilmington