Thursday, 28 January 2010

It was a wonderful day

Relatively wind free for most of the day. Periods of sunshine and high cloud cover. Nearly perfect.
We landed at Horseshoe Island shortly after 9:00. We had plenty of time to muse through the old buildings at Base Y. The base is in fantastic condition. There was plenty of canned food (long past the expiry date!) lining the shelves. There were dishes, tools, radio equipment, snow shoes, books and numerous other items spread throughout the building. In the library there was still an old record player with a Beatles, Sergeant Pepper album beside it. It seemed as if the former occupants had just got and left the day before.
There were several Weddell seals scattered around the shoreline including one dead seal that most of us paused to examine.
Our geologist, Steffen Biersack enthusiastically pointed out the veins of bright green malachite that wove through the rocky landscape.
Several Skuas watched our every step as they fiercely guarded their chicks. Quite a few of us were dive bombed by attacking Skuas. We soon learned where we could and could not go!

At 18:00 we landed at Stonington Island. We counted a total of nine Weddell seals spread out around the shoreline. Here too were aggressively protective Skuas with chicks. We had lots of time to explore the various buildings in both the old British Base “E” and the former American East Base. A handful of squawking Adelie penguins seemed to wander aimlessly about the island.
The scenery was stunning (as it always is down here). A large glacier loomed immediately behind the island. We saw a couple of minor ice calvings. The sounds of “white thunder” periodically punctuated the sonic landscape at Stonington.