Tuesday, 19 January 2010

A wonderful day in the wilderness

This morning started with yet another highlight of our Antarctic quest. We were welcomed at the Ukrainian station of Vernadsky. They are one of the most hospitable and relaxed groups of scientists on the entire continent. We all enjoyed the interesting information on their work down here and we were impressed by their very active social life with vodka and every possible trait of merriment. Even the patron saint of mariners, St Nicolas, gets to display Antarctica’s natives – the penguins – on an icon inside the station. Thank you very much, guys, for a nice morning.

In the afternoon we reached Petermann Island, an all time favorite landing site. It looked as if our Fram had stranded and was about to be entered by the resident adelie and gentoo penguins who were as endearing and funny to watch as ever. The cormorants on Petermann were busy rearing their chicks; the poor creatures can never supply enough food to feed the hungry beaks. We all lined up to watch the rookeries and everybody enjoyed this unique spectacle of Mother Nature. Just to make a wonderful day perfect, the skies started to clear for the first time this evening so that the spectacular Antarctic panorama was not hiding behind thick fog and clouds any longer.