The marine technicians (MTs) at Palmer Station effectively enable science. They:
- Schedule who takes what zodiac, solas or RHIBs (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats)
- Ensure all these boats are operating well
- Assist the researchers with ocean sampling
- They teach safety trainings and boat operator training (see my training on day 44)
- Lead the Ocean Search and Rescue (OSAR)
- Do the rigging and loading/off-loading cargo
- Help keep morale up! Aside from being a fun group to work with, they also cheerleaded (see right photo below) for my nephew Marc who tore his ACL and had a bone chipped during basketball training.
The boathouse is their main base of operations. Aside from doing repairs there, the boathouse is also the place where we pick up the GPS and AIS units when we go boating. The GPS tells you where you are on a map and the AIS sends a signal that tells others where you are.
Although they are marine tecnhicians, this is actually a misnomer - they have assisted me with my terrestrial work also: one of my field sites is on Litchfield Island. Even though we now can take the zodiacs ourselves to Litchfield Island (which is fun!), it is sometimes easier for the boathouse to keep the zodiac for other projects going on that day, so we are often dropped off and picked up again.
Thank you Mike Burns, David Moore and Jakob Bueche. You are all awesome!