Finally, we deploy!

After 14 days of weather delays (one of the longest delays in the history of summer deployments), we boarded an Airbus (YAY for windows!) and flew the 5.5 hours from Christchurch, New Zealand to the ice runway at McMurdo Station. While much of Antarctica is the bleak, flat white that most might imagine, we flew almost the entirety of the Transantarctic Mountains where the continent meets the sea ice, and it is anything but flat. Glaciers amidst mountains, crevasses and plateaus, valleys and cliffs.

Finally, our boots on the ice! Myself, Alissa Anderson, Victor Villalobos, and Kit Cunningham deployed separately from our crew leads Kaitlin Macdonald and Shane Petch (they deployed on the C17 down just prior to us).

The 2018 Weddell Seal Science crew very excited to be studying seals in paradise. Left to right: Jesse DeVoe (me), Shane Petch (Master's student), Victor Villalobos, Kit Cunningham, Kaitlin Macdonald (PhD student), and Alissa Anderson. The project's principal investigator, Jay Rotella, and statistician and photographer Bill Link, have just arrived on today's C17 flight (not pictured).

And right to work we go, making up for lost time. Part of the work is prepping 1,000 seal tags, here with Victor and Alissa hard at work putting together strands of tags. We need to make sure we have 2 pairs of tags (all the same number) for each seal, we string 25 numbers on a wire for efficient removal in the field when tagging (such that the first tags pulled off have the lowest number; this also requires drilling some of the tags to secure to the wire string).


  1. Yahoo!! We are delighted to see this blog cranking out images and stories again! Can't wait for the next one!


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