2009 Antarctic Cruise - South Orkney
We made a very special stop at
Signy Research Station, South Orkney. Only a couple of ships visit the base
each season, and we might have been the only visitor during the 2008-2009
season. Signy used to be the premier British research station in the Antarctic,
but I believe that honor now falls to
Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic peninsula. Eight researchers work at
the station, and Matt, the station commander, came onboard our ship to give a
brief presentation on their work and life at the station.
We visited the station in two groups. Once on the island, the group split up,
one half going inside the station and the other half taking a small hike around
the island. There was blowing snow, almost horizontal at times. Most of the
elephant seals have left except for one, who was hanging out near a heating
Inside, we were able to see some of the research that was going on, as well
as ask questions of the researchers. We saw springtail worms under a microscope.
These apparently are invasive, and live in the moss; when you shake a clump of
moss, the worms come out!
Six of the researchers joined us aboard the Ocean Nova for lunch.