Scary Birds

If you thought the Giant Petrel was a little scary, let me introduce you to the Skua.  Skuas are one of the top predators here.  They’re quite good at what they do, too, and get a reputation for being a bit evil.  Some individuals, for example, have been caught pecking out the eyeballs of penguin chicks.  Rather than eating them on the spot, the skuas leave these chicks wandering around helpless, ensuring a fresh supply of easy-to-catch meat throughout the entire Antarctic summer. Yup, skuas are pretty easy to hate… until you see BABY SKUAS, which are even cuter than penguin chicks.  I mean, c’mon.  Look at him.  He’s like a real-life marshmallow Peep!

ice tide

Today is a nice, cozy, indoorsy kind of day – as in it’s blowing 45 knots with gusts of 55.  King Neptune is having a great time blasting sea spray into faces and teaching lessons to the idiot who tried to carry her open coffee mug between buildings.  So, after a quick trip to the laundry room, I’m huddled in the galley, with a fresh vat of caffeine safely in hand.  What to do with my spare time?  How about string together some mellow video clips of sea ice rolling in on the changing tide:

 

new video: oceanography in Antarctica

edit:  I deleted this video when the audio stopped working.  I’ll upload it again as soon as I can!
-May 2009

Here’s another short video I put together in the Antarctic.  The footage is mostly of the scientific equipment we used.   It’s less exciting than the last video I posted, but I hope it gives you an idea of what it was like on board the ARSV Gould, constantly deploying and retrieving scientific equipment.  The first couple of scenes show some rough seas while crossing the Drake Passage; the last few scenes show us taking the Zodiacs out on the water, which was always incredible.  Those orange coats you’ll see everyone wearing are nicknamed “float coats” (sort-of a cross between a life vest and a parka… really toasty, but unfortunately not entirely waterproof).

You can click the “HQ” button in the bottom right corner of the player to see the video in higher quality.