Saturday, October 16, 2004

We ended up getting camp set up pretty quickly, and have been out here now for 3 days. We even beat the seals - we've only seen a handful so far, and just 4 new pups. We spent Thursday evening at the Turk's Head colony (east of our camp on the coast of Ross Island) and tagged 3 pups. This image shows the northern half of our study area; our camp is located just NW of Big Razorback Island:

On our survey flight over the study area this morning we saw one more pup at another colony. All in all, it is still pretty quiet out here on the sea ice. At this early point in the season, we still get nice sunsets, at about 1130 pm. This is a view looking across the sea ice from our camp after the sun went down last night.

This photo shows our home sweet home fish huts. They are nestled close together so that we are sheltered from the wind as we emerge from our bunks in the morning - an important feature particularly during those feisty Antarctic storms.

And here is the A-Star taking off from camp after taking us on our flight this morning:

Sunday, October 10, 2004

We have all landed safely at McMurdo after only minor delays in Christchurch. After our requisite day trying on all of our cold weather clothes, we had one extra day to hang around Christchurch when flights to Antarctica were cancelled. So, we rented a car and took a day trip up to Arthur's Pass - pretty much in the middle of the South Island. Here are my compadres for the 2004 field season- Mark, Kelly, and Terra, taking in a view from the Arthur's Pass Road.

We went for a nice hike along the valley bottom - our last chance to appreciate trees, moss and all things green for a couple months.
The next day we had a smooth flight down to the ice on a C-17 - a new, luxurious experience in Antarctic travel for everyone who has flown previously on C-130s and C-141s. Comfy (relatively) seats and lots of leg room. Now we are in McMurdo running through the barrage of trainings, debriefings, and equipment-gathering that is necessary before setting up our home on the sea ice out at Big Razorback Island. Things will hopefully get rolling with the actual fieldwork later in the week, and updates will follow!

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