Permanent contact with nature, both animate and inanimate is an incredible experience, and it is worth to go away to the end of world. These meetings, which you never have enough and you always miss them.
As you probably know from previous posts, a package of trainings, which prepare to participate in expedition didn’t predict training of the using of firearms as it took place on Spitsbergen. There were angry polar bears, which we had to co-exist with, but here, in Antarctic, the meeting with animals carry only positive emotions. Lack of bigger predators, makes, that they are feeling safety and it possible to observe them endlessly and without fear that they will run away for a moment, because of instinct of self – preservation.
And of course I have finally my beloved seals, which are for the taking, they politely lie, rest on the shore and don’t live in constant stress, that will come a bear for a moment and will not hunt for sure.
Of course, the animals are the hosts here, and we are only guests, which shouldn’t disturb their peace. Although sometimes interactions with them are really funny, when skua can steal a sausage from barbecue, and a crab – eating seal, which is lying under the station, can spit on passersby, they in panic fall into a deep snowbank.
You can read about another interesting meetings with animals in posts, which are devoted to ecological monitoring:
As the winter is coming, during you are relishing the taste of strawberries and smelling the blooming lilacs (ehhh…) most of animals have already left areas of our station, because they come here only for time of litters and breeding young, and after they go to look for the luck on the open sea. Single individuals from time to time can be seen here and there, but there is crowded and noisy only in spring time, which is in October.
Can write and talk about penguins for hours; they are gorgeous and arouse always our admiration. Currently we are observing single pieces of gentoo penguins, the rest of them sailed away.
There is still something flying in the area of station – Antarctic skuas, regulars and old friends (most of them fly every year in the same place) give place white sheathbills. They have something in common – still go around the station, come to the window; evidently they are plotting how to get something to eat.
And the end, wonderful pinnipeds – stink and bleating elephant seals, nasty and hissing at each skuas and lovely Weddell seals, which are always surprised by the presence of human, and their sleepy muzzle seems to be saying “go away and let me sleep”. Because of my seal affiliates, as “Weddell’ka” will arrive in area of our station, I have to welcome her right away.
Of course not all of fascinating inhabitants of this wonderful land – in waters of Admiralty Bay you can meet humpback whales, minke whales or orcas, but with them, you have to have a luck. I saw couple times giant tails underwater mammal which was quickly disappearing in the water, but I still hope that a little more similar meeting are in front of me.