Dispatch: May 12, 2005

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We embarked onto the ship today, 2 days since arriving in Punta Arenas, Chile. Our trip down was long (24 hours) but relatively uneventful. We were greeted at the International Airport in Santiago, Chile by Jimmy Ferrer - he is the point man for Raytheon as Antarctic Program people arrive, and escorted us seamlessly through Customs and other points of security and otherwise potential Red Tape. The Boston group met the Points Elsewhere group (Auburn University, mostly) right there in Jimmy's office at the airport. It was the first time many people in this Science Crew had met, and for others of us, it was like a homecoming. I am among those in the latter group - you see, I have done this trip one time before, in November/December of 2004.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Ellen Bailey, and my home base is the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. I am along on this trip as I was on the last, to provide 'worker bee' support in the labs, and to write this Outreach Journal for the website so that we might share the experience with you. I will be telling you the story of this adventure through my eyes, and with that, introduce you to the Antarctic environment and some of the wonders of the science that is going on down here. I invite your questions, from the simple to the complex. There will be someone here who can answer the questions, and I'm sure someone out there who was wondering the same thing, and will be glad you asked! So, don't hesitate to email questions to us at outreach@lmg.usap.gov

Our ship is the R/V ("Research Vessel") Laurence M. Gould. She's a bit under 300 feet long, with a ship's crew of about 20, and Scientific Crew of the same number. I will get more specifics to you in a later Journal, or you can go to the web and look it up there (I can't see the internet from here to get into it today). Do a search for R/V Laurence M. Gould and you'll get some good information. We'll be at sea for about 4 weeks, performing tows and dredges in the Southern Ocean around the South Shetland Islands. This ship is plenty sturdy to push through much of the mush ice that will be forming in those waters as winter approaches.

Everyone aboard ship is excited about getting their labs set up while we're in port. This means unpacking box after box of equipment, and getting it either into cabinets and drawers, or screwing it onto a counter or tabletop where the work will take place. If you go to the Related Links box on this site's home page, you may take a look at some of the critters we're expecting to see out here, as well as the ship's equipment we'll use to collect them. We're on the cusp of something very exciting in a place relatively few have the opportunity or privilege to see. Come along for the ride.

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Last updated May 13, 2006
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