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Admiralty Bay

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Once again the morning sky is leaden.  This time, however, we’re not quite so lucky. Wind, sea, ice, snow – all conspire to keep us out of Hope Bay and Esperanza Station.  The sky is low, the air obscured by mist and snow, the whole world painted in shades of hazy grays.  Instead we head directly to Admiralty Bay, arriving well ahead of schedule.  The winds, however, are not cooperating, and we head back out to sea, waiting for our chance to enter the bay.

On deck, however, the mood is anything but gloomy.  Crew members who have never seen snow are coming up to experience it for the first time. They lift their faces to the sky, feeling the sharp, wet touch of the flakes, dancing around and posing for pictures to send home to their families.  Their delight is my delight.

Admiralty Bay is home to several research stations.  Our goal is the Arctowski Polish Research Station, in service since the 1970s.  Several of the researchers are scheduled to come on board to begin their journey home.  They‘ll be accompanied by a couple others who will give a short presentation on their work and the rigors of wintering in Antarctica.  We watch them from the deck, our view blurred by the falling snow, as they leave one of the station buildings and make their way slowly, slowly in a sort of snow tractor to the zodiac.  Not a sound reaches our ears.

After the lecture, those scientists who will winter in Antarctica, make their way back to the shore, carrying a welcome supply of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Choppy seas and quiet snow falling from the heavy skies foretell what lies ahead.  Ours is the last ship they will see until the return of Spring, some eight months from now.

Tabular Iceberg

Tabular Iceberg

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Arctowski Research Station

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