Hello trusty readers who are likely few and far between at this point.I apologize for my lack of updating. The ship was here for about a week- stealing both bandwidth and many of my friends. Science has been going great- despite some unfortunate icy conditions that kept us in the lab for a few days, we have been getting out sampling and have really streamlined the process.
The boat left yesterday again, taking many of the people who I have grown fond of here on Palmer Station. I am of course sad to see them go but happy for them as they have been working so hard for many months and deserve to be freed! It is customary to take the 'polar plunge' and jump in the water off the pier as the boat departs. Everyone then runs and crams into the hot tub to warm up. This was the second time I took the jump and it is rather astonishing how my body has just acclimated to the cold. Don't get me wrong- my body literally thawed out in the hot tub and it was unbearably cold- I just don't find myself angry anymore when I lose feeling in my extremities- just inconvenienced.
This past week I gave a little lecture on mountain lions and the Felidae Conservation Fund- whom I have been interning with for over two years now. The current plan is to find myself studying for a graduate degree on a puma project down in Argentina post-Antarctica. I have a lot of work ahead of me and find myself stressed, incredibly intimidated, but excited as can be about the exciting and influential life I can have if I continue to work hard and don't collapse.
One thing for certain, I absolutely love fieldwork. Today in the field driving back on the zodiac, my fingers and hands were just miserably cold and had zero feeling (they still are tight/swelly/ and hurty now about 12 hours later), the snow was sideswiping my ear and beating my tympanic membrane to a pulp as well as blinding me (my face was pretty much frozen wrinkly and squinty for quite some time afterwards) BUT I loved every minute of it. I love being outdoors in such a beautiful location, I absolutley love the mission, the science, the idea of unveiling the overwhelming mystery that is life on earth. It feels just indescribably good to know -in general- where my place in this world is. To love the work you do is freedom! Now, I just need to get my ass in gear and make the next step happen.
Please keep checking www.Antarctica.dri.edu for updates- I work my behind off putting together outreach in the form of write ups, videos, and photos for that website and if you enjoy my endless banter on this blog enough to still be reading this post then I am positive you will enjoy much more videos showing what it really is like to sample on ice!
To learn more about Felidae and the Bay Area Puma Project check out: www.feliaefund.org