Sunday, November 27, 2011

27 November Palmer Station Round II

Our second stop at Palmer Station was much more pleasant than the first.  Last time it was extremely windy; this time there was barely any wind and it was almost 40 degrees for some of the day!   We spent part of the morning packing, but then spent the afternoon exploring and testing out our legs!
LMG docked at Palmer as viewed from Torgeson Island! Photo by K. Wurtzell




First, most of the science crew scaled the glacier in the backyard of the station.  How strange to walk more than 200ft in any direction (let alone uphill)!  It felt great to get some exercise and the view was well worth the walk.

Then, we embarked upon an adventure to Torgeson Island, which is a five minute zodiac ride from Palmer.   I was very excited to visit the island, especially because it houses an Adelie penguin colony!!  There were penguins everywhere!  Elephant Seals were on the island too.

We were especially lucky to be there because the penguins were laying eggs.  Many of the penguins had an egg, some had two! 
A Penguin  and his / her egg (The male and female take turns sitting on the egg).  Photo by K.Wurtzell
One of my favorite things to observe were the male penguins bringing their mates small pebbles.  If the female approved of the egg, it would be added to the nest, if not, the male would walk away with it and come back with another one!  ).  Photo by K.Wurtzell
 There were Skuas flying around the island.  Skuas will steal the penguins eggs to eat – didn’t seem like the Adelies liked having them around!   Photo by K.Wurtzell
The island was also inhabited by Elephant Seals.  They were huge!!  Most of them didn’t move the entire time we were there.  Photo by K.Wurtzell

Overall, it was an amazing  day!  After our penguin adventure we were invited to eat dinner at Palmer Station.   It was Make-Your-Own Pizza night!  Delicious!!  Then we all went up to the bar and celebrated the end of the cruise with some darts, pool, and dancing.  Great end to a great day!

We are currently on our way back to Punta Arenas, Chile, but will first be stopping at Copacabana field camp tomorrow!

-Katie

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