After our afternoon of exploring the Dallmann Fjords off Anvers Island, Antarctica, we then sailed through the Neumayer Channel in the evening to reach the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) station on Anvers Island – Palmer Station.
The “Neumayer Channel (64°47′26″S 63°8′21″W) is a channel 16 miles (26 km) long in a NE-SW direction and about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) wide, separating Anvers Island from Wiencke Island and Doumer Island, in the Palmer Archipelago. The southwest entrance to this channel was seen by Eduard Dallmann, leader of the German 1873-74 expedition, who named it Roosen Channel. The Belgian Antarctic Expedition, 1897–99, under Gerlache, sailed through the channel and named it for Georg von Neumayer. The second name has been approved because of more general usage.” — Wikipedia
“Neumayer Channel is known for its majestic cliffs, an attraction for tourists who come to the region. It is said to be like a maze with no visible exits because of its inverted S-shape. Its entrance and exits both have sharp bends.” — Wikipedia
The United States Antarctic Program (USAP) Palmer Station is located on the shore of Anvers Island, Antarctica. With ice cliffs rising above Arthur Harbor and the station, the Marr Ice Piedmont covers Anvers Island. The highest mountain on the island is Mount Français (9,055 feet/2,760 m).
“Most research at Palmer Station is conducted during the austral summer (October to March), when days are long, ice cover is low, and organisms are abundant. Scientists study many of the marine and terrestrial organisms that inhabit the local area, including bacteria, algae, invertebrates, fish and birds. The area is part of the National Science Foundation’s Long Term Exological Research (LTER) Program. Since 1990, this multi-disciplinary project has focused on studying the effects of changing sea-ice cover, a potential indicator of global climate change, on the structure and function of the region’s marine ecosystem. Palmer Station also participates in data collection for worldwide environmental monitoring networks. Onsite instruments measure seismic activity, atmospheric characteristics, and very-low-frequency (VLF) radio waves. Satellite images processed at Palmer Station are used to understand and map regional sea ice conditions, weather patterns, and phytoplankton concentrations in the ocean.” — from the Palmer Station website, USAP.gov
A very cool moment was when we had the Palmer Station geocam image up on our iPad and suddenly saw our ship in the image — sailing past the station in the channel. I rushed outside to our deck and put the iPad on the railing to get the above photograph — our ship seen in the image, sailing past Palmer Station!
“The geocam camera image is often obscured due to harsh and unpredictable weather conditions. A guy wire supporting the tower upon which the Palmer Station camera is mounted can be seen in most images. Located on Anvers Island near the Antarctic Peninsula, Palmer Station (64° 46’S, 64° 03’W) is named for Nathaniel B. Palmer, who in 1820 on a sealing expedition in his 47-foot (14-meter) ship the Hero became the first American to record sighting Antarctica. The original station was built in 1965. In 1967, the U.S. Navy began construction of the current larger and more permanent station approximately a mile east of the original site. The first building at the new station, the biology laboratory, opened its doors to science in 1970. Today, two main buildings and several smaller structures make up Palmer Station and provide housing and research facilities for scientists and support personnel. Of the three U.S. Antarctic stations, Palmer is the only one that is accessed routinely during the winter.
“Average temperatures are 36° F (2° C) in austral summer and 14° F (-10° C) in austral winter. The station frequently experiences high winds, sometimes reaching 70 knots or more. Average annual precipitation is 13 feet (4 meters) of snow and 30 in (76 cm) of rain. Palmer Station lies outside the Antarctic Circle, so in the middle of austral winter there are five hours of light during each day. Conversely, the austral summer brings long days of 19 hours of light and 5 of twilight. These changes in light influence seasonal cycles of temperature, weather, sea ice formation, and the organisms that live in this area. The station supports science year-round and accommodates about 20 people in the winter and up to 44 in the austral summer. There are dormitory bedrooms, communal bathrooms, and a cafeteria-style kitchen. Everyone helps clean, and many participate in weekly science lectures and social events).” — from the Palmer Station website, USAP.gov