Saturday, 3 November 2007

sledge Juliet and emperor penguins

Caboose sleeping and eating, Andy not so sure about the food that mark has prepared on the primus stove. The caboose sleeps four but room is short and i was on the top bunk which after a while is the hottest place in the caboose. You often end up sleeping semi naked with the floor still frozen below. The penguins are about 1km away and the cries can be heard from the caboose.

Emperor penguin trip at windy caboose

The penguins have been here breeding since before the first BAS Halley base in 1954 was set up. The sea ice is over 10 metres thick and the penguins have a walk of only a few kilometres to lay there single, solitary egg. They huddle together as one large group to keep warm in the dark winter months but as spring arrives and the chicks hatch they split into collective groups and huddle together on the sea ice near the cliffs.

They are inquisitive and often move along the ice to meet any change in the environment in which they are used to by either sliding on their bellies or waddling on their glycerolated feet.

a group photo with young feeding. Their plumage is magnificent and colourful. Hours roll swiftly by as you watch them, talk, move and feed.

With the advent of the warmer weather the penguins split from the group and explore or just move about because they can.

Chicks are often found wandering without their parents although their is often penguins following the chicks.

the chicks are now half the size of the parents and looking healthier and fitter as the days progress. There are no predators here apart from the cold.

just a small sea cliff to do a little bit of ice climbing

the group photo at the rumples

mark preparing to go into the crevasse getting some last minute tips from sune the GA. The crevasse is about 20 metres deep and reaches the sea below. The whole area is full of crevasses and is constantly breaking with the sea tide. All travel is roped together either by skidoo or walking and often falling into small unseen crevasses is part of the fun. Most crevasses are snow covered and so you are walking over snow bridges which collapse with the weight of the person on them.

Me in the crevasse. The only way out is by jummaring. The cold makes it difficult on the hands. The metal takes the heat out of the hands and rope work takes a lot longer than expected which makes the hands even colder. After reaching the surface again, warming the hands for the next 15 minutes is the main priority. Bringing the heat back into the fingers brings excruciating pain

the moisture from my breath causes a yeti effect.

A view of the rumples. Sleeping at -35 in tents with the cracking of the ice below the tents creates a very atmospheric affect. This cracking happens every 6 hours withe tide forcing pressure on the ice.


Red said...

Fantastic...what an amazing experience

Debra said...

stunning spectacular stellar...just...unbelievable and amazing. lucky you. incredible you.