We are continuing our journey south! Yesterday we cruised south following the coast of Argentina, and in the afternoon we passed through the Straits of Le Maire and out into the Drake Passage. As we transited along the coast, there was lots of wildlife to be seen. Peale’s and Commerson’s Dolphins jumped out of the water, cruising past or playing in the waves the ship makes. Sea lions also played in the water. In the air, cape petrels, also called Pintados, swooped and soared, along with southern fulmars and black-browed albatrosses. A group of Sheathbills hung out on the bow for a while too, catching a ride back south. What I was most excited about though were the penguins! Several groups of 2 or 3 Magellanic Penguins were seen just hanging out at the surface, or porposing along.
Yesterday we also had an abandon ship drill. The alarms went off and we all dutifully traipsed up to the 03 level conference room with our life jackets, gumby suits, and ditch bags in tow. After April, our Marine Projects Coordinator (MPC), took muster (roll call to make sure everyone is there) we got a special treat – Lindsey, the Marine Lab Technician (MLT) on board, had made up a batch of liquid nitrogen ice cream! On board the ship we have a liquid nitrogen plant, which is for making liquid nitrogen to preserve delicate samples, like samples for RNA analysis, but the plant is able to produce more liquid nitrogen than we could possibly use for preserving our samples. Liquid nitrogen is so cold, that if you pour some into a bowl with milk, cream, and sugar and stir really fast for a minute or so you get instant ice cream! Liquid nitrogen ice cream is always a favorite on the Palmer – and yesterday was no exception, with coffee and chocolate chip flavors.