Saturday, December 15, 2012

[what feels like] the longest journey in the world

Today I began the long trek the to Great White Continent for the 2012/2013 field season.  In what always feels like a multi-cultural version of planes, trains, and automobiles, I left Baltimore, MD this morning and arrived at the Miami airport this afternoon.  Concourse D of which I am now extremely familiar, having a near 6 hour layover before my overnight flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina.  What is it about these long layovers that makes a traveler prone to over caffeinating, overeating, and thereby overspending?  Good thing I long ago learned to just go ahead accept failure in terms of not overspending in these situations.  I will arrive in Buenos Aires tomorrow morning and then take one final flight to the end of the world--Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego.  From Ushuaia I will board the Akademik Ioffe to set sail for the Antarctic Peninsula.

I am thrilled to once again be sailing with One Ocean Expeditions and their wonderful staff aboard the Akademik Ioffe (Dec 18-29, 2012) and Akademik Sergey Vavilov (Dec 28, 2012-Jan 15, 2013).  Similar to previous years, I will not only be collecting penguin tissues for my dissertation research, but I will also be working as a researcher (aka penguin counter) for Oceanites during my deployment.  As a member of the Oceanites Antarctic Site Inventory, I help conduct penguin population censuses at each site visited by the tour ship as well as conduct surveys of all fauna and flora present on each island.

This will be my third trip to the Antarctic for research for my dissertation; I am currently in the fourth year of my PhD program in marine biology at UNC Wilmington studying mercury availability in the Antarctic marine food web.  Previous trips have been quite successful in terms of collecting penguin eggshells and feathers to document current mercury availability in this remote food web as well as investigating trends in penguin diets and foraging habits with my collaborators.  While on this trip, I will return to many sites that I have visited in past years; however, I am extremely excited to visit the Falkland Islands and South Georgia for the first time!

It is because so many of you asked if I was going to keep this blog again that I am doing so--thank you so much for your continued interest in my travels and research and I look forward to keeping you up to date!

1 comment:

  1. We all get to visit Antarctica this way, with a bit less snow!!