Recreational Boating…Attempt #1

11 Jan

One of the special perks of being at Palmer Station is the opportunity for recreational boating, weather permitting.  Usually the weather is much more cooperative and rec boating happens as early as October.  It was now into November and I still had not been rec boating. 

I was very persistent and eager to be in a zodiac and check out the wildlife on the nearby islands.  One night after work, a few other eager folks (all who’ve been rec boating before) and I decided to give it a try. 

The waters were still pretty chalked full of ice, but I had faith that we could make it through.  We got on all of our gear and headed down to the parking lot, the area where the zodiacs are tied up.

The Parking Lot.

We got the zodiac ready for launching and were very optimistic. But look at all the ice surrounding the area?

And the adventure begins...we pulled out of our parking spot, hopeful and raring to go.

We looked at the horizon hoping we'd get closer and closer to breaking through the packed ice.

It was at this point that some of us (not me of course) started to question our enthusiasm for the journey.  We continued on.

 

A closer view of the ice we were trying to break through. Not so pretty to have to get through, but still pretty cool to look at.

 
 

We continued and could see the edge of the ice more clearly, yet it was still so far away.

 
 

We even tried pulling out ice chunks into the boat, one piece at a time. This proved to not be a good idea.

 

At this point, we’d been trying to break through the ice for approximately 30 minutes and were not even beyond the pier.  Against my wishes, I conceeded and we decided that it wasn’t going to happen tonight.  We turned around and began our long journey back to the parking lot.

Just in case this would never happen again, I made sure to capture this moment where I was sitting in a zodiac in Antarctic waters for the FIRST TIME EVER! I may not have made it far, but I got to this point.

The view from the zodiac of the Bio building, the building I work and live in, and spend about 85% of my day in.

Once we turned around, we saw that in the 30 minutes we'd been out, the ice had already filled in to make our return trip just about as long. Yeah!

Back home...safe and sound. We tied up and headed in.

What I soon realized was that the best part of today’s adventure was just about to begin…enjoying some hot chocolate and Bailey’s. 

I might not have made it to Torgeson Island where there are loads of penguins, but now I can say that I am one step closer. 

Stay tuned to find out if and when I make it out…

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