Thursday, 22 November 2007

Penguin Paparazzi & Farewell Sune

My last and final trip to Windy, Emperor Penguin colony. I thought i'd put together a collection of photos, which will hopefully portray some of the characters of the colony, the cuteness of the fuzzy chicks and the devoted adults as both parents and companions towards one another.

The most expensive Taxi to the zoo, i have ever taken. The monster Caterpillar Challenger, with 325 bhp and costing a whopping £125,000, pulls away carrying a cargo of 2 German sledges, 8 passengers and a medley of survival gear. The first sledge is purely to catch all the blowing snow kicked up from the tracks, otherwise there would be 8 snow buried passengers.

A lone Emperor, snoozing amidst the dramatic blue ice cliffs of the Brunt ice shelf.

Tucked up cosy, for a morning nap.

Sunbathing in the mid morning sun, an Emperor adult and chick trying to cool down in minus 14 degs C, laying on the ice.

After a snooze, a flexible body enables any part to be scratched and ruffled, ready for the day ahead.

Synchronisation, adult and chick enjoying a vocal chorus..........

.............And a wavy flap.

The vast sea of adults and chicks.

A rare sighting, trying to capture the black eye of an Emperor on a black head.

A fond, final farewell, to the Emperor Penguin colony atop the cliffs.

Me being dwarfed by the Caterpillar Challenger, and a chance for me to work, each of the 16 gears on our way.

Summer mode is definitely underway, the garage and Drewery have both been moved from their wintering slumber, leaving a crater worthy of a large house's foundations. And now the Drewery is up and running with its first inhabitants of the year, our quiet, cosy wintering team has grown from a comfortable 18 to 31 people for now, but when the rest arrives, is anyones guess.

Me, Mat & Ben raising the 4km marker on 22nd Nov 07, out of its snow drift.

All too soon our wintering team of 18 is about to be sethered, as Sune the field GA, has a 2 and a half month "Camping Holiday" collecting rocks with a Beaker (a term derived from the Muppets character - Beaker, the scientists assistant). The rocks in particular are detrital zircons which occur as tiny crystals in rocks, and are robust enough to withstand erosion, sedimentation and remelting. The study of these crystals will hopefully aid us in answering the origins and evolution of Antarctica's continental mass and that of other land masses.

But, before Sune goes a last minute celebration of his 26th Birthday, on 25th Nov 07, with probably the last cake made by Dr. Richard and soaking up the last few nights in his Halley base pit room.

A disc of music and voices from his wintering team - just so he doesnt forget us, however annoying we were to him, hahaha.

An exciting day, Sune's off on his holiday, allegedly a working holiday, and more of the new winterers and summer staff are arriving by Basler, or Lidia as she's known.

Lance, refueling the Basler with 13, 45 gallon drums of aviation kerosene, which contains FS II, an additive used to stop the fuel freezing.

30th Nov. 07

Sune, sharing a last minute joke, before the Twin Otter takes him off to Troll station, a Norwegian Antarctic base, located in the Droning Maud land, where his expedition with his beaker will start.

Chad, the air Mech. taxying the Twin Otter carrying Sune, out towards the skiway.

Halley International Airport. Even in Antarctica you have to wait your turn to takeoff.

Farewell and good luck my wintering friend.

Nov. Statistics:

Min. Temp. -32 Degs on 1st
Max. Temp. -1.3 Degs on 27th
Max. Wind Speed. Gust 49.3 Knots /39.8 Knots, 10 Min average
Hours of Sunshine. 250.2hrs

1 comment:

desert tortise in Albuquerque said...

But how LONG is the challenge? How fast did you go? How much snow is kicked up?