03:45, January 19th

Good news: I can almost feel my hand again!  I’ve just gotten back inside after filming humpback whales for the last hour.  There were four of them, barely 50 feet from the bow of the ship, having some kind of feeding frenzy.  It was “sunrise,” which, in Antarctica, isn’t so much a transition from night to day as it is a pink-hued transition from a dusky purple sky to a bright blue one.  We’re far enough north that the sun dips just below the horizon, but far enough south that it never gets dark.  Sunrise and sunset are more or less one continuous act, as the sun moves diagonally across the sky.  The whales were so close that we could hear them breathing, and could clearly make out the expandable ridges on their gargantuan chins.  They spent an hour rolling around at the surface–diving, blowing bubbles, waving at us with their fins, gulping krill with their mouths.  I think if my mouth were as proportionally large as theirs, it would stretch from the top of my head down almost to my bellybutton.  They have big mouths.

Today begins the three days of Ocean Station OBAMA.  Chief Scientist Doug is getting interviewed on NPR soon.

Time to go warm up my fingers before they fall off.