Palmer Station miscellany

Palmer Station in 1968-69
The biolab during the 1968-69 summer. This NOAA photo is the only one that shows the front. I don't understand why
the unnamed NOAA photographer (actually he was with the US Army Topographic Command doing geodesy as part
of the PAGEOS project) had to show all the construction debris in these photos, but anyway, in front of Lab 3 is one of
their equipment vans, along with the camera housing (the white dome). Here's the original NOAA photo...and the story
of the PAGEOS project.

Palmer Station concept planAt left is the architect's conception of what the place would look like. Of course, the architect didn't know how the blasting and land clearing would really turn out. In addition to the pad for GWR, there is another parking lot or future building pad over on the other side of the fuel tanks, and that side road to the small boat ramp(!)
Maggie Amsler in the lab

Jump ahead a bit, to 1979-1980, when females were much rarer at Palmer than they are today. At right is Maggie Amsler during her first visit to Palmer as part of Mary Alice McWhinnie's research team. (The lab at Palmer is named for McWhinnie, who had previously worked aboard research vessels in the Southern Ocean and was one of the first two women to winter at McMurdo in 1974.) A few years after this picture was taken, Maggie was on the first NSF winter cruise in 1985 aboard the Polar Duke. And this lab space at Palmer has been renovated more than once to keep it a state-of-the-art facility. (NSF photo by Erick Chiang, Antarctic Journal, December 1981. The caption: Using a microscope in one of Palmer Station's biology laboratories, Margaret Amsler studies the development of krill.) Oh yes, Maggie was more recently at Palmer February-May 2004. And the team returned to the station in 2007, 2010, and 2011, here's the 2010 blog site, which includes links Palmer Station information booklet(under "expeditions") to visits between 2000 and 2013. And they've been back since, most recently in 2018. And in March 2018 UAB created this great blog post about Maggie's experiences in the Antarctic.

So...imagine it is September 1987 and you just scored an ITT Antarctic Services job (or perhaps you are part of a just-funded science project) that will take you to Palmer Station. After breathing a sigh of relief after learning that you will be traveling to Palmer on the 212-foot steel hulled Polar Duke instead of the older/smaller/rock-and-rollier Hero, you receive in the mail a copy of the Your Stay at Palmer Station brochure. Which is here.

The 2003-04 summer saw the third and final phase of the cleanup of the old buried dumps. Here's my page which takes a look at what got dug up...'s 2019, and Bill Spindler is more permanently retired and back living in Boulder, Colorado since 2016. And slowly trying to catch up on things for this website. After my 2005 Pole winter, I worked for two years on a coal power plant in Dunphy, Nevada...and after my 2008 winter I spent a year on a refinery project in Port Arthur, Texas, followed by two more gas fired power plant projects in Virginia. But I can reveal a couple of secrets. If you haven't clicked on any of the NOAA photo links on this site, you've missed something. There are two sections on the NOAA geodesy pages that have huge and unretouched (and unidentified) color pictures from Palmer and the local area during the 1968-69 season. I've been using some of them on this site, but I'll also reveal the secret and tell where they are...ulp, they redid everything and there are no longer simple links to all of the photos. I'll work on that.

And last before I go, here's that gallery of w/o pictures from 2003 in the renovated GWR stairwell!