Thursday, January 31, 2008

Peninsula History

At many of our stops, we saw remnants of previous visitors from times gone by. Some areas, particularly those that were used as whaling bases, were quite littered with old garbage, decaying buildings and shipwrecks. Here are a few examples from Deception Bay (the volcano I mentioned in the last post). The last picture in this first sequence shows three whaling shipwrecks near a rock formation called "Neptune's Bellows", you can see a tiny dot in the sand about halfway down, in front of the ship to the right -- it's a penguin (for scale). Also, the steam seen in the first shot is rising from vents in the sand, which people wadded into wearing bathing suits at one point on the trip.

These two pictures are from Half Moon Bay -- the first is a shipwreck (with more penguins for scale at the bow), and the second is an Argentinian Base (sometimes in use, but mostly a 'claim' holder).

This final set of pictures come from Port Lockroy, the British base. You can see old chains fastened to the rocks, some graffiti from the 1920s, and a portion of the modern base - surrounded by a large penguin colony, whose poop I slipped in while visiting...

Coming soon -- Flat Stanley's Adventure, Life on Board Ship, and Cape Horn.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Antarctic Ice

Think we were done with Antarctica pictures??? Oh no no, no no no. Lots more to come.

These are some pictures of the different forms of ice we came across. I've already included icebergs in their own post, this is land-based ice of various forms.

The first several pictures are from one of our first stops, a visit to Deception Bay, an island formed from the rim of a volcano. One that is still active, as we saw when we hiked up to the top of a new vent. Most of the island is ash covering ice, so the dark color is just a top layer, not rock. That becomes clear in the second picture, where a chunk of ice near the vent has broken off showing the layers. The final shot in this sequence is a view above the new vent, showing more ice stratigraphy.

These two shots show different types of ice - the first is 'pancake ice' forming after a day of snow, and the second is a cool cross section of rock and ice, like icing on a (very cold) cake:

The next group of pictures are from the LeMaire Channel, where the dark areas are actual rock. The ice flows like a slow river towards the sea, you can make out the glaciers pretty readily in most of these shots:

And finally, to give a sense of scale to all of this, the first picture shows our group climbing to the top of a glacier field -- the tiny dots you can see along the ridge are people. In the second shot, you can see two walls of blue ice, and in about the center you'll find a large bird flying along. You might have to click on these pictures to see the people/bird in the larger view.


It's cooolllllddddd here today. I covered Summer's classes today while she was away on a job interview, so it was a somewhat early morning. Very slick streets. So much for macho Jeep smugness = spun out driving to campus this morning. Up on the curb, almost hit a lightpost. I was glad for the high ground clearance, but no longer trust my 4-wheel drive like I used to (which is probably a good thing).

Could be worse I guess, we could be in China...or, I don't know, some place really cold, like Antarctica (not!!)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Unfounded Whining

I think I liked being on vacation better.... Today was the first day of classes for me - nice wakeup call. Something about the grey dank day made me long for penguins ;-)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Antarctica Triptix

Here's a map of the places we visited, from a 'logbook' provided by the ship's naturalists:

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Antarctic Icebergs

The variety of sizes, colors and shapes of icebergs was hard to capture on film. Here are my attempts. Occasionally a bird appears in the picture for scale.

Antarctic and South Atlantic Birds

I unfortunately didn't really start to pay attention to the birds (other than penguins) until late in the trip. Here are some of the birds I was able to catch on film, which represents about half the variety we saw.

Albatross -- Blackbrowed

Shags -- Imperial blue eyed and Antarctic shags (I think)

Skuas -- Chilean and South Polar

Snowy Sheathbill

Kelp Gull (and chicks)

Cape Petrels ???