Tim Hollibaugh's exciting journey through The Antarctic continues...
So let’s see, where are we. After surviving the storm at sea, we entered Marguerite Bay, which is near the base of the West Antarctic Peninsula. I use the word “spectacular” a lot in describing stuff down here, But Marguerite Bay truly is spectacular (photo #1 below). There is a British station there, Rothera, home of the British Antarctic Survey. The group I am sailing with has a long-term study going on with them so we stopped for the night to cross-calibrate some of the instruments and (as long as we were there) to participate in the traditional annual soccer match (we lost 2-0), then went to a reception in their garage featuring local musical talent (yup, a garage band…). The station is on a point that features a lot of beaches, and a rich (and ripe) collection of Elephant Seals (photos #2 and #3 below - one of the more disgusting marine mammals I’ve ever seen, definitely NOT charismatic megafauna). The point is surrounded by glaciers that are constantly shedding ice – bergs, bits and chunklets. The collection of bergy bits shown here (photo #4) caught my eye on my way back to the boat after leaving the reception at 11:00 or so. And I've developed a fascination with icebergs because they call to the imagination, as shown below in photo #6.
We are now establishing a camp on Avian Island so a couple of penguin biologists can get up close and personal with their subjects. There is a large Adelie Penguin colony there, as well nesting sites for an assortment of other sea birds and more elephant seals. The Adelie Penguin colony here is replacing the one that is dying out at Palmer Station as a result of the loss of pack ice. We’ll be back to pick up the birders in 4 or 5 days.
Photo #1- Maguerite Bay
Photos #2 and #3- Elephant Seals
Photo #5- bergy bits
Photo #6- The Stegoberg