NATHANIEL B. PALMER

1998 - 2002

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The above view shows the "Nathaniel B. Palmer" berthed at Lyttelton in October 1998. The "Nathaniel B. Palmer" is a modern (Built 1991) American Icebreaker and research ship operated for the National Science Foundation by Antarctic Support Associates.   In 1998 It completed with distinction a mid-winter expedition to the McMurdo Sound area in the Ross Dependency spending several months making surveys of ice thickness, water temperatures etc while operating in perpetual darkness.

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PALMER 1   1998 (April 7th) Paquebot cover with two ship cachets.    US$5

Note: The vessel had arrived at Lyttelton on the 7th April to commence a 1 month maintenance period.

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PALMER 2   1998 (April 7th) Paquebot cover with ship cachet and Lyttelton Port Label.    US$6

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PALMER 3  1998 (June 19th) Christchurch Paquebot cover with 3 diff ship cachets.    US$10

Note: Between the 1st of May and the 19th June 1998 the "Nathaniel B. Palmer" had been conducting Ice Dynamic studies in the Ross Sea area of the Antarctic. The above cover was posted on the day the vessel returned to Lyttelton which is the port for Christchurch.

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PALMER 4  1998 Mid-winter Expedition from Lyttelton to Punta Arenas.    US$10

This cover was Paquebot postmarked Lyttelton 22 June 1998 after its arrival from the ice-dynamics expedition to the Ross Sea and  prior to its mid-winter expedition to McMurdo Sound. This left on the 25th June.   The cover was carried on the Mid-Winter expedition and posted on arrival in Chile at Punta Arenas on 22 July 1998. It was finally backstamped at Christchurch 29 July 1998.

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PALMER 5   1998 (October 27th) Paquebot cover at Lyttelton after Multibeam Sea Trials.   US$5

The "Nathaniel B. Palmer" had returned to Seattle following its Mid-Winter expedition. It then conducted various Oceanographic trials in the mid- Pacific calling into Apia, Western Samoa before returning to Lyttelton for the Antarctic 1998-99 summer season. Under New Zealand Paquebot conventions it was possible to have mail posted at Lyttelton with either USA or Samoan stamps as with the example above.

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PALMER 6   1998 R.O.A.V.E.R.R.S. study expedition to the Ross Sea.    US$8

Note: the above cover was posted when   "Nathaniel B. Palmer" arrived back in Christchurch from the Atmosphere/Oceanic study which it had commenced on 2nd November 1998. The cover has been posted through the USAF American Deep Freeze Base at Christchurch International Airport. This is an official American Military Post Office. It is only open to US Antarctic and service personnel. It is the only "Foreign" Post Office operating in New Zealand.  Interestingly the cancellation used on this cover had a very limited life span as it had previously read "US Navy FPO..." and by 12th February 1999 it had already been changed to "Air Force Postal Service..." without the place name Christchurch.  The "Nathaniel B. Palmer" only stayed 6 days in port, leaving again on Boxing Day.

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PALMER 7 1998 R.O.A.V.E.R.R.S. study expedition to the Ross Sea.    US$8

This cover from the same expedition has been posted Paquebot through the Ross Dependency Agency in Christchurch. It bears a Ross Dependency stamp as it was entitled to as the vessel had been operating in the Ross Dependency.

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The  photo at left shows the "Nathaniel B. Palmer"  (foreground) in the inner harbour at Lyttelton.

Whilst the vessel has a helicopter pad on its aft-deck it does not normally carry a helicopter.

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PALMER 8  Polarogramme of the "Nathaniel B.Palmer" posted at McMurdo Base.   US$8

Note: The "Nathaniel B. Palmer" left Lyttelton for McMurdo Sound on December 26th 1998 to conduct a series of Ice Dynamic experiments in the area.  During the next 6 weeks it called into the McMurdo Base and posted the polarogrammes shown above and below through the American APO there.

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PALMER 9   1999   Polarogramme posted McMurdo & signed by Capt. Joe Bourkowski.  US$10

Note: The quality of postal cancellations at McMurdo varies from average to poor. Both the last two items also have cachets or postal markings on their reverse.

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The Photo at left shows Captain John Bourkowski on the bridge of the "Nathaniel B. Palmer"

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PALMER 10   1999   (July 15th) Antarctic Fishery Research Cover posted Punta Arenas.  US$5

Note: During this year research scientists on board the "Palmer" discovered 4 new Antarctic fish species in the Ross sea area living under the ice. Some of these fish have developed anti-freeze properties which greatly interest scientists.

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PALMER 11   1999 (July 16th)  Postcard from Palmer Station carried by vessel to Punta Arenas.  US$8

Note: The above card shows a nice view of the American Palmer Station on Anvers Island and has been carried from Palmer Station to Punta Arenas on the "Nathaniel B. Palmer" where the US stamps have been postmarked with the Certified mail datestamp and a dated Paquebot cachet of Punta Arenas.   Backstamped on arrival in New Zealand 26 July 1999.

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PALMER 12   1999 (July 16th)  Postcard from Palmer Station carried by vessel to Punta Arenas.  US$8

Note: this postcard is virtually identical to the previous one but the "Nathaniel B. Palmer" ships cachet is on the reverse of the card instead of being on the front.

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Postcard with Chile Stamps and label.

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View of Palmer Station.

PALMER 13   1999 (July 16th)  Postcard from Palmer Station carried by vessel to Punta Arenas.  US$5

Note: The postcard above was also carried by the "Nathaniel B. Palmer" from Palmer Station and has the ships cachet on the reverse but it has a Chile stamp and Chile Punta Arenas  X11 machine label used for the postage. It is addressed locally in Chile.

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This is a view of the port area at Punta Arenas in Chile.

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PALMER 14   1999 (July 16th)  Air Polarogramme of "Nathaniel B. Palmer" posted at Punta Arenas  US$5

Note: This Polarogramme bears a Palmer Station cachet on the reverse. It has been posted on arrival in Punta Arenas with Chilean stamps and backstamped on arrival in Christchurch 26th July 1999.


1999-2000 ANTARCTIC PACK ICE SEALS PROJECT

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The "Nathaniel B Palmer" after a refit in South America made a trans-Pacific transit to Lyttelton where she laid up for several months preparing for her next major expedition.

The view at left shows the vessel beginning plans for the Antarctic Pack Ice Seals project which commenced when the vessel left Lyttelton on 20th December 1999 bound for the Ross Sea.

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Officers discussing loading arrangements.

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Equipment to be on loaded for the expedition

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Captain Joe Bourkowski

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Hanger with two Bell 206L-3 Helicopters

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PALMER 15   1999 (December 20th)  Postcard posted on departure date from Lyttelton  US$4

Note: This postcard has a Lyttelton Port sticker at top left and a new cachet at bottom which differs from previous ones in showing a helicopter landing on the heli-pad. This was the first Antarctic Expedition which the vessel has carried helicopters on despite having a purpose built hanger and heli-pad since construction. The two helicopters carried are operated by PHI Long range Jet ranger (Bell 11's) Helicopters numbers N31801 and N31821. The helicopters were involved for use in the seal survey.

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Picture side of postcard

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Address side of postcard

PALMER 16   1999 (December 20th)  Seal postcard posted on departure date from Lyttelton  US$4

The view at right shows the vessel in the pack ice near McMurdo Sound.

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PALMER 17   2000 (February 10th)  Postcard posted on arrival at McMurdo  US$6

Note: Back stamped on arrival in Christchurch 3rd March after travelling by air from McMurdo to Christchurch to Honolulu and then back to Christchurch.

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PALMER 18   2000 (February 10th)  Postcard posted on arrival at McMurdo  US$6

Note: this postcard has been postmarked with the different McMurdo hand stamp but is otherwise identical to the previous postcard.

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PALMER 19   2000 (February 10th)  Seal survey postcard posted on arrival at McMurdo  US$6

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PALMER 20   2000 (February 10th)  Seal survey signed postcard posted on arrival at McMurdo  US$8

Note: this postcard is signed by Karl Newyear, the Marine Projects co-ordinator on board the "Nathaniel B. Palmer" Karl is responsible for the scientific work being carried out on board including the main Pack Ice Seals Project.

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PALMER 21   2000 (February 10th)  Seal survey postcard posted on arrival at McMurdo  US$6

Note: This postcard has the larger hand stamp cancellation.

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PALMER 22   2000 (February 16th)  Cover carried to McMurdo by ships' Helicopter  US$8

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Note: The above cover has a "Nathaniel B Palmer" sticker on its back flap as shown at left. The cover has been date stamped on arrival in Christchurch on 1st March, 2000 although some have also been date stamped on arrival on subsequent dates of March 2nd and March 3rd.

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The above photo shows "Nathaniel B. Palmer" moored at the ice wharf at McMurdo Base in February 2000.


2000-2001 SEASON

The "Nathaniel B Palmer" arrived in Lyttelton direct from Punta Arenas on the 11th December, 2000 to replenish polar grade fuel supplies before leaving for Hobart the following day to on-load other supplies and new science teams.

The photo at right shows the "Nathaniel B Palmer" at the Lyttelton Oil wharf on December 11th, 2000 taking on a large supply of Polar grade fuel.

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PALMER 23   2000 (December 12th)  Paquebot cover posted on arrival at Lyttelton  US$5

Note: The above cover is franked with an American stamp and has correctly been handled as Paquebot mail. Christchurch postmarks all mail arriving at nearby Lyttelton Port.  It has only 33 cent postage as the envelope is posted to an American address.

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PALMER 24   2000 (December 12th)  Paquebot cover posted on arrival at Lyttelton  US$5

Note: Similar cover but with 60 cents postage because the letter is addressed to a foreign destination (ie New Zealand).

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PALMER 25   2000 (December 12th)  Ordinary cover posted on arrival at Lyttelton  US$3

Note: this cover has a New Zealand stamp rather than an American one and accordingly has been postmarked with an ordinary Christchurch postmark. The vessel departed Lyttelton bound for Hobart on December 12th, 2000.

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PALMER 26   2000 (December 18th)  Polarogramme Paquebot postmarked at Hobart.   US$8

Note: The view at right is of the reverse of the above polarogramme and shows both the Ship's offical ship number cachet as well as the pictorial ships sticker.

The vessel took on a science crew at Hobart prior to leave for the Antarctic and a marine survey of waters between Australia and the Antarctic as far west as South Africa.

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PALMER 27   2002 (December 9th)  Envelope posted Paquebot at Christchurch.   US$5

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PALMER 28   2002 (December 9th)  Envelope posted Paquebot at Lyttelton.   US$5

Note: While Christchurch has an actual Paquebot cancellation, the port town of Lyttelton only has a Paquebot handstamp and uses its normal datestamp to cancel paquebot mail as shown on the above envelope.

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PALMER 29   2002 (December 9th)  Polarogramme posted Paquebot at Christchurch.   US$5

Continue on to page two. Mail from Nathaniel B. Palmer 2004 onwards


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