On New Year’s Day we finished crossing the Drake Passage, saw our first icebergs, and made a quick side trip to a place called Livingston Island. We were taking food, supplies, and one person to a small group of five Americans and one Chilean who are studying the island’s seals and penguins. They met us at the beach, and station manager Mike Goebel greeted us wearing a Santa hat and carrying a candy-striped ski pole. They’d been living on the island for two months, since the Gould dropped them off on Halloween. Their neighbors are the Antarctic wildlife: fur seals, chinstrap and gentoo penguins, a few other seabirds, and the whales blowing just offshore.
Cape Shireff on Livingston Island is at about 62 degrees 22 minutes south latitude, 60 degrees 50 minutes west latitude—have a look for it on a world map. When we left the island we set our course for Palmer Station, which is at about 64 degrees south, 64 degrees west. We’re sailing through a narrow channel between steep, snow-laden mountains. Icebergs are all around us, and chinstrap penguins are standing on them. We’ll be at Palmer in about a day—depending on how many humpbacks the whale biologists find along the way for us to study.
do the penguins and seals get along with one another?
Hi Brian – penguins and fur seals don’t seem to bother each other. However, they don’t exactly get along. Penguins are very territorial and will try to chase off animals that get too close to their nests or chicks—sometimes even animals as big as whales. Also, leopard seals definitely don’t get along with penguins—they try to eat them. (See today’s post: http://coseenow.net/converge/2015/01/06/what-do-whales-seabirds-and-seals-all-have-in-common/ )
The Antarctic fur seals are so cute – such a precious picture!
Because it is always light out it is probably harder to sleep? it that true?
Hi Hugh, Im in the 6th grade, and Im doing a science fair project. I have a question, is there any experiments that your group will be doing about salinity in the ocean waters?
Hi Omer – thanks for your question. There are no salinity experiments happening at the station right now. Several of the science teams are interested in salinity and they measure it as part of the investigations they’re doing. But none of them are actually doing experiments on salinity (i.e., they’re not changing salinity and observing its effects). Thanks for asking – Hugh
How long are the people they dropped off going to stay there?
Hi Jaquan – the people at Cape Shireff stay on the island for about 3 months during summer. Thanks for asking – Hugh