Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Terra Nova

At the most basic level, population studies (like ours on the Weddell seals) is all about input and output.  Births and deaths, immigration and emigration.
Simple.  Well, not really.  It's very difficult to figure out who's dying or leaving in an open system population.
One way we try to figure out who's leaving, is by taking a helo trip up the coast to Terra Nova Bay, to a small satellite population of seals, just to check if any of our tagged seals show up there.  We also make some stops closer in.  And this is what was done today, the helo picked our whole crew up at camp, and off we went:

Our first refueling stop, Marble Point, where two people live all season, simply to refuel helicopters as they come through.  And one of them is a cook, who made us some rice krsipy treats...awesome!

Finished refueling, getting ready to continue the journey.

Looking out the helo window into the vast whiteness...
the vast whiteness.  Those are icebergs frozen into the sea ice.  They will soon be released to the open ocean come January/February
The ice edge with Mt Erebus in the background.  Occasional penguins can be seen swimming or chilling on the ice edge. 

After about two hours, we arrived to Terra Nova Bay...

In color even.

Following the search for tagged seals, we refueled at the Italian base (Mario Zuchelli base)...and were very kindly and warmly invited in for lunch!

The kitchen...

The dining hall....great people, delicious food (a good change from McMurdo and field camp food)

Nestle chocolate, white yummy bars of something, prunes, and a hunk of cheese! (There was more food to eat than this...don't worry.  Lots of pasta of course, and the most awesome bread)

And the real treat!  An italian espresso shot.  They are SERIOUS about their espresso.

Just a helo shot.

One of the small bays we stopped in to check seals on the way home.



2 comments:

  1. Terra Nova is about 200 miles from McMurdo. How come you had to refuel so often? Do the Italians land fixed wing aircraft on their small ice shelf?

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    1. Good question...I guess these helicopters just plow through the fuel...I was surprised at this too, but we definitely needed the fuel stops as it was a limiting factor at one point when we stopped to check seals. The pilot had to shut down the helo to ensure we had enough fuel to make it back!

      The Italians have a sea ice runway to land winged aircraft, so this is one way they get to the base. Another is via a Korean ice breaker ship that comes in February.

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