Friday, April 3, 2009

Antarctica Journal 3.11.09

Antarctica Journal 3.11.09

I woke up early, so I went up to the bridge to see what was up and check out the latitude/longitude. We were heading into Mikkelson Harbor, our first glimpse of the mainland. After breakfast, we suited up and took zodiacs out to Trinity Island. Leopard seals were playing in the water as we approached.

The shore was lined with fur seals and gentoo penguins. As soon as we landed, we saw an old whaling boat surrounded by whale bones. The island was a whaling factory back when whaling was a profitable industry. I wandered around taking pictures of seals, and penguins, and seals and penguins. Sam taught me how to tell what penguins and seals have been eating by looking at their poo*. I watched Rupert having a dance-off with a bullying fur seal (Rupert won, but, in all fairness to the seal, Rupert has much longer legs).

I walked over the snow bank and nearly stepped on a Weddell seal that was completely zoned out. He never woke up, no matter how much noise we made or how close we came to him. The zodiacs started loading up, so I didn’t get a chance to see the Argentine refugee, where, apparently, an Adelie penguin was hanging out. As I waited in line for the zodiac, I rock-watched again. There were some beautiful green stones.

I sat next to Thom at lunch. I opted for the Croque Monsieur, because it was supposed to be cooked in cinnamon custard, which I couldn’t resist. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t all that good, either. I wished I’d gone for the curry chicken salad instead. I asked Thom if anyone had missed the cut-off and he said no, but I heard that at least two people had been picked up on ATVs.

After lunch, we went on zodiac cruises in Charlotte Bay. There were a lot of ice-bergs, plus some wildlife, including a leopard seal and some fur seals. We got back in time for cookies – oatmeal raisins with a few chocolate chunk mixed in. We all know which ones I ate! Results had been posted in the bar, so we all checked them out. I think I was 15th in my age category, which means I didn’t do very well, but I had a great time.

Before dinner there was a photo class, but we just critiqued each other’s photos. Mine weren’t copied onto the laptop, so I didn’t get any critique. Dinner wasn’t very exciting. The only option I could eat was the zucchini pancakes, which came with mashed sweet potatoes, which I can’t eat. I’ve been feeling pretty hungry at night, which seems strange, because everyone else comments on how much food we’re given. During dessert, Lynn gave a mini lecture on ice.

Pictures from these days are available here:

* Red poo means they’ve been eating krill
White poo means they’ve been eating fish
Green poo means the animal is stressed, such as when they’re moulting
Black poo means a seal has eaten a penguin

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