Birds & Bergs
FI to Signy
Relief continues, but has slackened off quite a bit. All the cargo has been transfered from the ship, all the waste is back from base. We're not done yet, though, as we have to transfer the bulk fuel for our generators. To do this we use five thousand litre tanks, filling them up at the ship and emptying them at the base. It will take another day or two until enough of these trips build up, and until then I'm stuck on the ship as I have to help fill them up evey six hours.
It's good to have a light day or two and it gives us a chance to appreciate the wildlife that visits us from time to time. There's much more than I'd expected. Three sorts of penguins (kings, emperors and adelie), seals (weddells, crabeaters and leopards) and birds (skuas, terns and petrels). The birds pop in and out, resting on the ice in groups of two or three before flocking off who knows where. The seals mostly lounge in the sun, occasionally snorting, sometimes scratching themselves. Their flippers are remarkably flexible, with fingers and claws, and can be bent backwards to reach the hardest spots. The seals also manage to get quite far back up the ice, and can move pretty fast when startled by a Sno-Cat. Their violent trashing from side to side works better in the water, but on land somehow presses them forwards with startling speed.
The king penguins spend half their time off at sea, then return to preen and pose at the edge of the sea ice. They seem very interested in the ship and spend much of the day staring vaguely at it before shaking their heads and slipping back into the icy water. The adelies, on the other hand, are bonkers. A couple popped out of the water yesterday, shook the droplets off, then rushed at full pace straight up to the mechanics depot, about four hundred meters away. Every now and then they'd fall over onto their beaks and pick themselves up again, but still they'd keep running. Waddling frantically with flippers out to the each side. Once they got to the depot they squawked a bit and fell asleep in the vehicle tracks until rudely awakened four hours later when the roaring Sno-Cats returned from their trip to Halley. Cute but stupid, the result of living without predators for aeons.
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