Attack of the Adelies

Dec 10, 2008

A few days ago at around 7:30pm when I didn’t have any samples to run I went out on a hike across the ice with one of the ship personnel, Magnus, who wanted to check out a mini-iceberg that got lodged into the sea ice about 2 miles away. We went out to the mini-iceberg, I climbed around a bit, and then noticed two Adelie penguins in the distance who were run/waddling towards us. I got out my camera, sat down, and was completely distracted when Magnus whispered for me to turn around, and there were SEVEN more Adelies standing directly behind me about three feet away. It was like penguin ambush- they surrounded me from both sides in ‘penguin-attack formation’ before I even noticed they were there. Adelies are about 1.5ft tall and extremely curious, so the nine of them circled us and I probably took 50 or so photos; it was great. We hung out with them for about 20 min or so before it was time to start heading back to the ship (‘time’ is relative because it’s sunny out all the time, but still) and as we walked back to the ship they followed behind us in a single line for about ten minutes before stopping in a group and watching us leave. Hiking across sea ice AND a penguin safari both in the same day? SO COOL!

penguinposeHangin’ with the Adelies

adeliepair3-mCute, right?

Yesterday was the first station where we were lifted onto the ice in a basket by a wench on the ship, which I thought was really cool because when it lifted me up in the basket I could see really far across the ice and the view was phenomenal. I think I was the only one that thought of the wench like a Disney ride, but still, I’m not ashamed to get amused by the little things. Very few people on the ship actually get to go out on the ice; only the ‘ice team’ of people that research the ice as opposed to the physical chemists and nutrient chemists studying sea water from a large device called a CTD that is dropped into the water at different depths, so I’m happy to be on the ice team where I can actually go out into the field instead of being stuck on the ship. (There are six Americans and maybe seven Swedes that go out on the ice, and then the seal team of 4 that leave the ship in a small Zodiac boat or on skis to go chase seals for their DNA).

breakingthroughtheice2-mView of the frozen sea ice at our second station (station = whenever we dock to the ice)

snowfield2-mStation #3

For the culinary connoisseurs of this blog, you may have heard of Surstromming, which is apparently famous / infamous in Sweden… also known as rotten / fermented raw whole herring in a can, which has an extremely foul smell. It’s a famous gross food in Sweden where a raw herring is buried under ground for two years, then after it has rotted and fermented, it’s unearthed and eaten in a strange raw-onion and old-cheese burrito. Yesterday some of the crew decided it would be funny to see if any of the Americans would try it with them, so I went down to the Boson’s locker room with the few other brave souls where they had set up a mock dining table environment with all the fixings you’re supposed to use for a proper Surstromming experience. I just thought it was hilarious how the Swedes all stared at my face when I ate it to see my reaction, and everyone was taking pictures of each other’s expressions. Anyway, it was worth trying just to see how excited everyone was about it, and now I can cross fermented fish off of my foods-to-try list.

1217033_redigerad-1Fermented raw herring!


Posted on 2008, in 2008 (12/10) Attack of the Adelies, Season 1: Life on an Antarctic Icebreaker. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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