Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Nice day, but no penguins...

Yesterday was bright and sunny, so we headed down to Windy Bay to try and see how much the chicks had grown. Apparently they've now started leaving their parents and are gathered in big creches while the adults leave the colony to feed.

The Beast

The journey to Windy takes about half an hour by Skidoo, but about twice as long in a SnoCat. It's many many times warmer, but I'm not sure more comfortable as the body rolls erratically over the sastrugi making the sideways facing rear seats quite nauseating.

By the time we arrived the wind had increased to 20 knots, way over the safe limit for traveling on sea ice. As we discussed options and drank tea, a fantastic halo with sundogs (the mini-rainbows to the left and right of the sun) appeared.

Sno Cat and Sun Dogs with buried caboose to right

Rather than waste the journey, we set to digging out the caboose and pulling it free of the winter's snow. It was hard work as much of the snow had melted, then frozen as solid ice. We dug with shovels, hacked with ice axes then "encouraged" it with the Sno Cat. The Cats might be slow, but they've got loads of power - the caboose popped straight out of its hole!

Brian guides Tom to Windy Caboose's new position

So that's one successful penguin visit from four attempts. I hope no-one else has noticed my average as I'm starting to think I'm cursed by bad weather!


Blogger Paul Capewell said...

So...forgive my ignorance... But in that last shot, that isn't lens flare? You can actually see that? Wow!

3:45 pm GMT  
Blogger David Vaynor Evans said...


That's not lens flare, but a solar halo caused by sunlight refracting through ice crystals in the cirro stratus cloud. As well as the Sun Dogs (looking like mini rainbows) forming at the 3 'o clock and 9'o clock position, there's also an upside down rainbow right at the top, which I didn't get.

4:42 pm GMT  
Anonymous Phil Carrotte said...

I wasn't starting to worry about your penguin to trip ratio but rather I was concerned that in recent weeks all you seem to have done is go and look for penguins! Are you sure this is actually work?

6:49 pm GMT  
Blogger David Vaynor Evans said...

Think of it as Adventurous Training Phil ;)

10:09 pm GMT  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I want to see more pics of the penguins. Have they grown yet?

8:59 am GMT  

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