And it's penguin time! The past weekend is all about the world's silliest birds.
On Saturday, we had a penguin invasion! Someone reported on Friday night that penguins had been sighted near the Halley VI construction site. By the time we got there, there were at least 200 that had wandered up the drumline. And they're still around here, almost a week later, showing up here and there. Just two days ago, our Twin Otter landed - we'll be seeing more of it in the next month - but first the doc had to shoo about 6 penguins off the skiway. And they really didn't want to move.
The penguin diaspora isn't just confined to our base - we were 10km away on the side of the base opposite the Windy Bay colony, where we saw 10 of them standing and staring at a flag we stuck out there. Hours of entertainment, flags! Must have been sensory overload for these guys.
But anyway. More importantly, on Sunday we assembled the crew and went down to the colony - an exchange trip, if you like. So welcome back to Windy Bay!
Compared to previous trips, there were a lot less kids around. Shame, really. One result of this imbalance is that every baby penguin was fussed over by not only two parents, but several aunts and uncles as well. Obviously, they're spoiled now. One baby caught site of us, and excitedly ran over to meet us. You could almost hear him saying "Oh boy! Oh boy! Something new! Hooray!" while the parents and relatives were running behind him and freaking out; "He's too young to be near the orange-suited creatures!"
This was probably just a coincidental stretch, but this picture looks like a protective dad saying "Damn it, man, have you no decency? Get that camera away from my wife and child. Nothing to see here, sir! Move along!"
In the end, the kid just tried to do the old "Hide under mom" shy routine. But, seriously, isn't he getting a bit old for this? Barely fits under there any more.
On a different note - penguins are never known for their dignity. But you want to see a goofy looking penguin, watch one scratch i's ear for an extended period of time.
That sucker was good and scratched by the time I stopped laughing, lost interest, and wandered off. For all I know, he's still scratching it.
A few pics down at the seaside too. I like this one because it looks like the penguin and I planned a classic "day-at-the-beach" picture:
And here's one attempting to regain land:
A penguin that successfully launches out of the water is a beautiful sight. One that attempts and fails provides one of nature's goofiest moments.
Anyway, there are a few more, but I'll stretch them out.
Also, we managed to scale the Macdonald Ice Rumples and dig out a site that was 3m under snow. Once again, Kirk accompanied us and will probably make a video, so I'll suspend comment until it can be provided. Suffice it to say, there were enough bottomless crevasses and avalanches within earshot to make it an interesting journey.