Getting ready to join the Ocean Diamond

Tues 18th Dec, 2013
I’m getting ready to join the Ocean Diamond, one of the Quark Expeditions ships. It’s a bit like home; I’ve worked with most of the crew before and the third season with Woody and Annie, second with Shane as Expedition Leaders. After all of the movement – I have no idea how many thousands of miles I’ve travelled since October – it’s nice to stay on one ship and be taken to all the cameras! No, that sounds really lazy, let’s say it’s going to be great to be part of the team again.

Ocean Diamond coming out of the Lamaire Channel, next to Booth Island (2 cameras) on route to Petermann Island (4 cameras) (c) Yukie Kopp
Ocean Diamond coming out of the Lamaire Channel, next to Booth Island (2 cameras) on route to Petermann Island (4 cameras) (c) Yukie Kopp

The Quark team have been incredibly supportive of Penguin Lifelines, so it’s time for some hard work on the ship and on the land. This is the time when we get most of the data – we have tens of sites, which are spread over the Antarctic Peninsula. Now we have to get to all of them and fix, change or service them before the ice closes in again. I’ve had the cameras in the back of my mind since the end of the last season. Have they survived? Trying to run a project on a tight budget at the edge of technology does not make for sound sleeping. Still, they have mostly survived in previous years…

Paul Nolan from Citadel University is joining me to test an interesting idea about colour change in penguins and to see whether this is something we could measure from my cameras. It would allow remote monitoring of the health of colonies. So, it’s time to pack up all the kit again and get on the move. The nice thing is that I’ll now be in one place (sort of) for the next five weeks.

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