Miscellaneous pics - 2011
Cayman Islands - 8/2011
Space Shuttle Launch - 4/2011
Miscellaneous pics - 2010
Flight across the US - 2010
Europe - 2010
Miscellaneous pics - 2009
France - 9/2009
Bonaire - 7/2009
Kauai - 3/2009
Southwest tour - 1/2009
Antarctica - 2008
Miscellaneous pics - 2008
Belize - June 2008
Yosemite NP - May 2008
Flight across the US - April 2008
Miscellaneous pics - 2007
Italy - 2007
Flight across the US - June 2007
Thailand - October, 2006
Havasu Falls - October, 2006
Vancouver - August, 2006
Florida - July, 2006
Miscellaneous pics - 2006
Hawaii - 2005
Miscellaneous pics - 2005
Turks & Caicos Islands - 4/05
Miscellaneous pics - 2004
Italy - 11/2004
Yucatan - 10/2004
Yellowstone N.P. - Sept. 2004
Sydney, Australia - May 2004
New York City - March 2004
Miscellaneous pics - 2003
Amsterdam & London - 12/03
Bonaire & Curacao - 10/03
Lake Powell & Grand Canyon - September 2003
Oshkosh - 7/03
Florida - 6/03
Florida Keys - May/June, 2003
Around the World - Fall, 2002
Oshkosh - 7/02
W. Canyon, Lake Powell AZ - 6/02
Caymans - 5/02
Journey to Key West, FL - 4/02
Whistler, B.C. - Jan/Feb 2002
Yucatan - 10/01
Italy - 5/01
Honduras - 5/01
Seattle - 8/01
Belize - 11/00
Australia - 8/00
France - 7/00
Australia - 1999

Antarctica - 2008

Photo Gallery here!

Jim's Antarctica Blog Here...

Click for McMurdo, Antarctica Forecast

In the fall of 2008, I had the great fortune of spending 6 weeks in Antarctica on a scientific expedition.

Boarding the flight to Antarctica

It all came about the preceding July when a friend sent me an e-mail asking if I'd be interested in a trip to Antarctica...

There is a project at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories called SCINI with the goal of developing an underwater remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) for studying the benthic environment in Antarctica.  Thus far, divers and to a lesser extent commercially-available ROVs have been used for studying the sea life on the ocean floor under the ice.  However, the large holes in the ice required for divers or commercial ROVs are expensive to create and maintain.  The SCINI ROV was developed to fit through the small (15cm) holes produced by hand-held power drills.  Since these small holes are much cheaper and easier to create, benthic research over a much wider area can be performed for a given amount of money.

My friend's company is providing underwater navigation equipment for the project and when the project needed additional engineering help, he put me in touch with the project leaders.

I started doing engineering work on the robot at the Moss Landing Marine Labs in July of 2008, and also started the arduous process of "PQ'ing".  PQ'ing, or physically qualifying for Antarctica, involves a variety of medical and dental exams and filling out reams of paperwork.  Fortunately, this went smoothly.

On October 1, we flew from San Jose California to Christchurch New Zealand, where we were issued cold-weather survival gear.  The following day (October 3, gained a day crossing the date line), we were scheduled to board a C-17 military transport jet and fly about 6 hours due south to the McMurdo Research Station, but bad weather in Antarctica prevented our departure.  We ended up being stuck in Christchurch for another 5 days before the weather cleared enough to make it to Antarctica.  Fortunately, I had friends in Christchurch and hung out with them for a couple of days while waiting for the weather to clear.

A view from our base of the Royal Society Range across the frozen McMurdo Sound

My responsibilities included everything from continuing electronics and software design work on the robot, piloting the robot, fixing it, drilling holes in the ice, and managing tether operations, communications, and hazmat issues for the project.

Overall it was an amazing experience!

A Weddell seal lounging outside our dive hut

Photo Gallery here!

Last modified: 05/11/2012