March 16, 2009
Staying in shape is an important consideration for a 40-day cruise. Forty days is enough time to take major steps back in a training regimen or in fitness. Some cruise participants are in the middle of training for sporting events, including a 60-km bike ride and a half-marathon. Others have goals of weight loss or increasing fitness. Many just want to break even.
Palmer is a surprisingly good place for such goals. A small gym offers cardio and strength training equipment. Since people are awake all hours of the day, there is usually one or more people in the gym, either using the exercise bikes, rowing machine, or treadmill, or lifting weights.
Deck work also counts as a workout. Scientific equipment is heavy, and deploying it often involves pulling on taglines or maneuvering it over side railings. Even standing takes extra effort on a ship. The continual rocking is more tiring than one might expect.
Exercise is especially important because food is always available. Four buffet-style meals are served each day (breakfast from 0730 to 0830, lunch from 1130 to 1230, supper from 1730 to 1830, and midnight rations from 1130 to 0030). In addition to the scheduled meals, snacks of fruit, juice, cookies, crackers, bread, and ice cream are available any time. Finally, there is a seemingly endless supply of fresh-baked cookies and banana bread in the mess hall available any time, day or night. Healthy eating is possible, but over-indulging is too.