The albatross research team returned to station after a long but successful three weeks in the field, along with ‘Psycho', our field training officer. The guys had an action packed month of field work down on the rugged slopes of the south west of the island.
A farewell BBQ for Ranger Andrea, and departing summer crew Psycho and Aleks, was enjoyed on Friday night over at the green store. In homage to Andrea’s favourite sweets of 2015 we all enjoyed chocolate awesome and custard squares. The evening unfolded with shooting basketball hoops, some softball, and a lot of sitting by the fire braziers.
On Saturday we were visited by the first of the tourist ships for the season. Prior to the ships arrival, rangers were busy installing signage and inducting and training a small army of volunteer guides. Paul, Jac, Rich, Terry and Rowena headed out to the ship on Saturday, accompanying approximately 48 tourists around the Sandy Bay area. After spending a night aboard, the team returned to station to play a waiting game with some poor weather. The tourists successfully made it ashore in the late morning and they were greeted by a host of bird life around station, including a very large red pole. Two leopard seals also turned up on West Beach much to the delight of our visitors. Sharing tea and scones in our mess with a very excited bunch of visitors was enjoyed by everyone present.
As well as bringing tourists ashore, The Spirit of Enderby also brought us five new expeditioners. On Saturday night, Jimmy and Kris organised a Fray Bentos welcome feast and a hut themed evening, complete with socks hanging from the roof! The only thing missing was the pungent odour of wet field gear (and expeditioners!) usually found in an actual hut.
We welcome Ian our field training officer, Dom our supply officer, and Melissa, Margi and Kate who are working on field science projects.
With more daylight every day, many of the crew are finding time for early morning and evening walks, which offer a load of photo opportunities. The orcas continue to surprise us. Just when we didn’t think that we could top the seal hunting event that we witnessed last week, this week they were sighted sneaking right up into garden cove stalking weaners. To top off the week, Helena snapped a photo of a white orca on her evening stroll.
For those interested in how our gentoo friends from the 'Penguin Palace' are faring, we are pleased to report that two chicks hatched and they are growing up fast.
It has been a very busy week, with everyone here on station. However, by the weekend, all of the field scientists and a few recreational travellers will be out and about down island, making the most of the (so far) wonderful spring conditions and abundant wildlife.