Thursday, February 14, 2008

Petermann Island

We had the opportunity to land at Petermann Island the morning of the 12th. This is the island that we picked up the Oceanites researchers yesterday? Or the day before, I don't know. All the days run into one another, I have no idea what day of the week it is either. The weather had cleared some and the ocean swells were minor so off we went in the Zodiacs. This island is overrun by Adelie penguins. There is also a couple nesting areas for Blue Eyed Shags. These long necked black and white birds look a little like penguins. We walked around the island which was covered in mud, rocks, penguin guano and snow that had red and green algae bloom on it. The island was colorful and smelly. I walked around for several hours, rock hopping and mud slogging. It was great exercise. We ran into a couple fur seals who you have to keep your distance from as they get quite cranky. When they make a whining sound they are agitated. I got a couple great pictures of birds basically flying right over my head, but mostly I just plopped down on a rock and watched penguin colony drama. There is so much drama and it's rather amusing. Adelie's build a rock or pebble nest, carrying many, many rocks from all over to create themselves a nest. This is to keep the wet and cold from their eggs. Adelie's normally have 2 eggs. They will also steal the rocks from one anothers nests. At one point researchers put some painted neon colored rocks out and took a photograph of what nest they ended up in, then they took a picture the next day and they were all in different nests. I guess the phenomen of "the grass is always greener" is not isolated to humans.

This was a very busy island, the Oceanites people were here and now there is a small 25' yacht (they must have a rough time crossing the Drake Passage) that held 3 frenchmen. They were documenting the 100th anniversary of Charcot (French explorer), they were beaming their notes and video to public schools all around France.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy Valentine's Day you guys! (It's Thursday here by the way Dawn. Dunno any time/day difference where you are.) You are going to come back skin and bones from all that running around aren't you? Aren't you glad now that you trimmed down and exercised before you left? I can't wait to see all the whale pictures. It must be breathtaking. I'll read you tomorrow! :)