I woke up this morning to find a young elephant seal napping in front of Palmer Station. Yawning excessively, rolling around, drooling… he seemed to perfectly embody my early-Monday sentiments. View more polar posts for SeaMonster here!
I was perched behind a rock, trying to focus my camera on the blue-eyed shag swimming in our harbor, when this Chinstrap penguin leapt out of the water. He surprised me about as badly as I surprised him! Happy Monday, everyone. I’m in Antarctica! Find my polar posts for SeaMonster here, or check out xyzena.com [...]
Fa la la la la, la la la la! As a Northern Hemispherite, I found it odd to be decking the halls within a week of celebrating the Summer Solstice, but apparently the Antarctic locals know better. Perfectly-timed with the “warm” season came the arrival of a new generation – penguin chicks are hatching all [...]
GoPro HD Hero camera + fuzzy hat as “decoy” + curious penguin = He got especially involved when I started building a pebble nest for the camera. Male Adelie penguins woo the ladies by bringing pebbles for their nests… this one started picking up the pebbles close to the camera with his beak, and plopping [...]
It’s rough enough trying to eke out a living rooting around the seafloor in water that’s perennially hovering just around the freezing mark. But then, just when you let your guard down . . . well, check out this amazing video from the BBC, narrated with his inimitable understated drama by one of my heroes, [...]
When the glacier’s face calves, we get a new look at the inside. To give you an idea of scale here, the cliff face is several hundred feet tall. Twenty-foot ice javelins? Yes please! (I was almost a quarter mile away when I took this photograph, and you’d be an idiot to get much closer.) [...]
…the first penguin eggs of the season, that is! Look at these proud parents: I am very excited. That’s easy for me to say, because unlike these penguins I don’t have to spend the next month fasting while I diligently keep my gestating baby warm, simultaneously fending off predators. It’s going to be a long [...]
…complete with kicking and slapping, like a good old-fashioned high school cafeteria fight. These particular Adelie penguins make their home on Torgersen Island, near Palmer Station, and build nests out of pebbles. It’s mating season here in Antarctica – the stakes are high, and choice pebbles are something worth fighting over. I’m in Antarctica! Click [...]
We’re still wearing long underwear and puffy parkas and hats every day. We’re gearing up for Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas. We’re looking out our windows at a very convincing field of ice and snow. And yet here we are calling it “springtime.” There are a few clues that life here is transitioning into summer, [...]
When I was a young girl, a snow day was a rare and glorious thing. Here at Palmer Station, it seems like every other day is a snow day – or, more specifically, a snow-and-ice day. It’s springtime, which apparently means: wind. Whiteness. Generally unpredictable yet predictably cold weather. The winter sea ice broke up [...]
Maybe it’s a commentary on climate change, or maybe he’s just a goofball. In any case… I’m working in Antarctica for four months. Click here to see all my Antarctic posts for SeaMonster! Visit www.xyzena.com for even more updates.
Yesterday the ARSV Gould left the pier, taking most of the winter crew northbound. I’m usually the one leaving on the Gould – either on my way farther south for a research cruise or heading home – so it was strange to be left on land while the ship pulled away. That’s it! Those of [...]
We just crossed over 60 degrees South latitude, and are seeing ice for the first time! I don’t care how many times I come down here… sea ice never gets boring. It’s hypnotic, watching it rise and fall with the waves, listening to it scrape and slush against the ship’s hull. For now it’s just [...]
I write to you from a ship in the middle of the ocean, somewhere off the tip of Chile. Later tonight, my boat will be in the Drake Passage: notoriously the roughest seas on Earth. I left my home in North Carolina on Tuesday, and some 30 hours later I was standing on a pier [...]