27th Dec 2013
So far, so good! The cameras we’ve got to have survived the winter and seem to be performing well. We’re ticking off the sites north of the Lemaire and so far as I look through the images, they seem to have collected some excellent data. This winter was a huge year for sea ice, so it’s really important that we have good data to compare with the norm. We’re interested in the timing of breeding in particular and how that might have been delayed. My early impression is that the Adelies and Chinstraps were delayed, but Gentoos not really.
We’ve set up cameras at a few more sites, and also tried to calibrate the colours within image with true colour. Paul is on board testing this, which involves him walking around the colony with a long stick with a colour standard on it. He then aims it at a penguin and takes a photo. I’m not sure the guests on board have figured it out – why he’s ruining otherwise excellent penguin photos with a stick. The goal would be to be able to measure what he does from my own automated (year-round) cameras.
We’re now on the Drake heading home again, and have been fortunate to have some excellent wildlife encounters. Just when we thought it was over, some spectacular humpbacks came and hung around the ship. Captain Oleg stopped the ship and we had about an hour of spectacular viewing.
It’s been great to rejoin the OD crew – there’s a fantastic team ethic on this ship and it’s great seeing old friends while working- it feels all the more special for having a (nearly) common purpose. Shane and the team have been hugely accommodating of the scaffold poles and paraphernalia that I’ve brought on board.