That should actually read that both the natives, and the tourists, they are restless. Our penguin hosts were a little trepidatious when we arrived however with each passing excursion onto the ice they become bolder, and perhaps even a little irate. The stampede I was describing just the other day has become the norm, with poor Karen from the ABC ambushed, and Delphine chased around the igloo (VERY funny to watch as we are to keep five metres from them, which is hard when they are chasing you). I realise a penguin that barely reaches your knees may not SEEM the most intimidating of creatures, but when there are 50 heading your way, you get a little edgy. Have you never seen an ominous waddle?
From the water however, the Adelies are just magnificent. We have been watching them porpoise from both off the trawl deck and our icy playground, but this evening we got to see them from the water. I take my beanie off to Aaron Spurr the AAD’s Operations Officer, and all the crew that dragged the zodiacs (think fast dinghy) out for all those who didn’t get to the hut. (I’ll tell you about the ceremony later after I’ve had a chance to grill those who attended over breakfast). The last few days have exceeded my wildest expectations, and this evening was no different. Adelie penguins are complete show offs. They were zipping in between the boats, in between ice floes and sometimes successfully landing feet first on the ice. The light was superb and the face of Big Berg glistened from one end of the horizon to the other. The water would have remained like a mirror had it not momentarily turned into a race track. I would like to say that boat 3 won, which is not a lie but I should admit that there were two boat 3’s in the water. There is nothing quite like the icy wind in your hair. I was lucky enough to go out twice which meant that I missed the glaciology talk and I almost lost my nose to frostbite, but we are due to leave tomorrow and all too soon the opportunity to get out into the wilderness will have passed.
Sixteen expeditioners will be leaving for Dumont D’Urville tomorrow.
It is with a heavy heart that we lose the ABC chaps. They have been such a great laugh, and although I am very much looking forward to a science focused cruise (the scientists they too get restless), they will be sorely missed by this expeditioner. If I could raise a glass I would, but this is a dry ship so I raise my BBQ shape to Ben, Peter (aka Micheal Keaton) and Karen. It’s been a pleasure.