Thursday, September 29, 2011

Packing for the ICE!

BEFORE shot -- got everything I need at ready! On the left is most of my backpacking gear for post-Antarctica travel in New Zealand, and the majority of stuff on the right is my gear for Antarctica.

AFTER shot -- defying the laws of physics, everything fit...except for the furniture and the dog...they just wouldn't squeeze in.  And Abby was looking forward to going SOOO much!  Look how sad!  Awww :(
It is time again!  The southern-most mammal species in the world is calling! The Weddell seal research team from Montana State University will UNITE and DESCEND upon Antarctica for the 42nd season of population ecology research.  Our flights, from various airports, leave tomorrow, and will converge on Los Angeles, where the team will reunite and welcome its new team members.  From there, we fly to Christchurch, obtain our ECW gear (extreme cold weather gear), board the belly of a bird, and fly south to McMurdo Station on Oct 4, if all goes as planned.

This being my second year and knowing what to expect, there is a feeling of comfort in returning to this place.  Regardless of the frenzied winds and frozen extremities that accompany being present on the ice-laden continent, all I can say to those that can only ask "why?!?" is "BLEH!"  (that's the sound a Weddell seal makes when they are lounging on the ice even in the coldest, fiercest conditions...they love it down there and I do too!).

This year, our crew will have several avenues where you can keep up to date with the research:

1) Right here
2) the Weddell Seal Science video blog
3) Facebook
4) Twitter

And check out the official website, Weddell Seal Science, to learn about the history and purpose of the project, as well as watch some very cool videos produced by Mary Lynn Price (who will be joining us again this season)!