Palmer Station coming up

All plans are finalized for my upcoming trip to Antarctica with the National Science Foundation. I fly on Oct 18th, arrive in Punta Arenas on the 19th and sail for the Antarctic Peninsula on the 21st. This means crossing the Drake Passage on the Ice Breaker Laurence M. Gould, which is already giving me stomach flutters. The Drake is known to be the roughest seas in the world, waves build unimpeded around the circumference of the globe, and they can be huge. Or there is a chance we could experience the Drake Lake, a rare dead calm. Which is what I am hoping for. My stomach is untested on the high seas.

There are 4 days left to my project fund raiser. Prints and books are on offer as rewards for your pledge. I’ll be updating this blog throughout the trip as before, and there is an exhibition of this work planned for 2018. More on that later. I’ll also be hosting the Smithsonian Magazine Instagram feed during part of the trip.

Please consider making a donation to the project, link here. 



  1. I recommend promethazine as a sea sickness drug for the crossing. Probably one of your shipmates will have some extra; otherwise requires a prescription in the US. Maybe a pharmacy in Punta Arenas will sell this over the counter, but personally I’ve never gone this route.

    Here’s the advice I got back in 2009:

    “Phenergan from all my experience bringing tourists through the Drake is the best medication for seasickness. This is what NASA uses for space sickness.

    The ‘downside’ is drowsiness. I don’t mind it. Plus I can now take only a ¼ of pill and be fine.

    So this is what you want to do:
    – Get phenergan (promethazine) 25mg tabs. You want to take ¼-1 tablet every 6-8 hours. Take your first dose 1 hour before the time you might get sick. Then every 6-8 hours afterwards. For sure take a whole tab before going to bed. It will help you sleep and helps you get your sea legs sooner.
    – If you want to counter the drowsiness, you can play with how much you take (you might need only ¼ dose in am and afternoon), or you can take 200mg of caffeine with each pill, or drink lots of caffeine, or ephedrine 25mg.”

    p.s. I hope you get some beautiful photographs of the ocean during the crossing. Each day is different. My personal favorite is when the LMG’s lights are sweeping the ocean, keeping watch for icebergs & the snow is blowing all around…it’s like nothing else I’ve ever seen before. I forget which day of the crossing that is, but the mates or the captain will know.

    See you on the other side.


  2. Also, if you’re concerned about sea sickness & the weather on the crossing, you could see if space is available in one of the berthing milvans in the hold. The lower / more central your cabin, the calmer your experience. If you stay on the upper decks, the cabins closer to the midline of the ship experience less front-to-back pitching.


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