Monday, 20 October 2014

A weekend to remember!

For this blog post I had intended to go back into explaining more about working and living in Antarctica as opposed to 'playing' in the field like majority of my posts but this last weekend was possibly one of the best times I have ever had here and I feel the need to share it as best I can.

It all started on Friday afternoon. Myself and Sarah decided to get away for the weekend and relax at one of field huts (or shacks) that are dotted throughout the countryside. We settled on spending two nights at Platcha which is a smaller hut that is nestled beneath an ice cliff at the base of the plateau.

Since the days are getting very long at the moment (sun is rising at 0530, setting at 2130 and we have 'twilight' all night) we decided to depart station after dinner. It turned out to be a good move as literally five minutes after getting on the sea ice on our trusty Honda quads we were hijacked by three Emperor Penguins!!


Empies are a rare sight at Davis as we have no adjacent colonies but we do get the occasional one wandering past if we are lucky...


And Sarah and I were very lucky! These three Emperors were the most vocal and unafraid Penguins I have seen so far. We have strict rules about approaching wildlife down here which everyone adheres to but there are no rules if the animals approach you, and approach they do. Since the wildlife here have virtually never been hunted by humans they let their curiosity take over and seem to enjoy checking out the humans as much as we like being around them! After they got bored of us, they proceeded to inspect our transport and then continued on their merry way. It was definitely a moment to remember!

They really are massive birds!

Inquisitive too!

The next day we awoke to blue skies and no wind which is a rare especially around Platcha as it is usually battered by Katabatic winds rolling down from the Plateau.

Platcha

Not a bad spot for the afternoon!

We had a great day walking around the hills of the area and enjoying the sunshine.

Lake Bisernoye

Some of the ice was amazing

Sunday's weather was the same as the day before so we got away early to attempt to find some Weddell Seals which are pupping at the moment in the Fjords. We struck gold near Brookes hut and found a number of seals, most with pups lounging around a small island. Some pups looked no more than hours old and the local Skua population was keeping a close eye out for any scraps!


Peek-a-boo!

Ready to pop!


We made it back to station in good time where preperations were underway to take advantage of the weather and do one of our 'Davis Radio' shows out amongst some Icebergs! Stu, Kernal and myself loaded up a Hägg with all the recording equipment and hit the ice one again with the surprisingly easy task of finding a photogenic Iceberg to set-up in front of. I realise I have mentioned it a few times but the weather was incredibly good! It was still -13c but completely bearable without gloves or a hat because there was no wind and plenty of sun. It was the icing on an already great weekend and one I will remember for the rest of my life!

Surreal Darts..

The view from my mic

The 'Davis Radio' team for 2014!

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