18 December 2020

#AntarcticLog: Showcasing Palmer Station

Posted by Shane Hanlon

#AntarcticLog is a series of comics by Karen Romano Young. You can find the originals here

This week I got a wonderful photograph — a selfie taken by John Stephen “Doc” Allerding, who has just arrived to summer over at Palmer Station.  Doc’s first stint as station physician began in March 2018 with the two months I spent there.  He says the #AntarcticLog comics I created during that time are still taped to a wall in the Bio Lab, and the poster-sized drawing I did of the station — the view from the back of the Laurence M. Gould, the ship that carries Palmerians back and forth from Punta Arenas, Chile — has a proud place on the staircase that leads up from the lab to the galley and offices. 

March 2018 found me aboard the Gould with a small team of scientists from the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science in East Boothbay Harbor, Maine. I’d met Dr. Pete Countway on a research ship in the Pacific years before, where we dived in the submersible Alvin to explore hydrothermal vents — and, for Pete, the deep-sea microbial life there. Now he was taking his studies to surface microbes, phaeocystis plankton.  With his colleague, Dr. Paty Matrai, and researcher Carlton Rauschenberg, Pete undertook a two-season comparison of the ocean near Palmer Station — and asked me along for the autumn journey. 
The comics here — my first about this effort — encompass the summer season (2016-2017) the three spent at Palmer.  It was my first opportunity to try to make their “invisible” science into a visual story. 

Next week: a visit to the Bigelow Lab. 
Karen Romano Young is a writer, artist, deep-sea diver, and polar explorer. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram