|Helicopter recce flight departing Big Razorback camp.
Each season, we take two helicopter flights on a 'recce' seal mission to locate any seals in our study area that we can not find from the ground. These flights often reveal groups of seals or a mom with a pup in some hidden pocket amidst the glacial jumbles frozen in the sea ice. It's always a great flight (though sometimes turbulent) for seeing the extent and expanse of the study area and surrounds. I figured a post of aerial images might give you a different and interesting perspective of the Erebus Bay that the seals call home. Enjoy the flight!
|The northern end of Tent Island. Most of the colony is located on the right (west) side of the island.
|Inaccessible Island. The singles club. We don't find many moms and pups here; most of the seals that occupy this island during this time of year appear to be sub-adult or non-breeding seals. Some seals (black dots) can be seen here.
|Flying along the terminus of Erebus's extensive glaciers where it meets the sea. Often the pressure of the glaciers create cracks in the sea ice that seals can use to get on top of the ice.
|Looking straight down at a lone seal where the glaciers meet the sea. I like the aesthetic of this shot.
|Another (unnamed) glacier tongue, but no seal cracks are formed on this one. This is looking back at Cape Evans (center) and Inaccessible Island (left).
|Turk's Head; one of the larger seal colonies. This area always produces some pretty dramatic and extensive crack systems.
|Looking up at Mt. Erebus at 12,500 feet. The chunks of ice here are as large as or larger than your house.
|Looking south along Hut Point Peninsula of Ross Island. Hutton Cliffs (the glacial wall below the rock) and Turtle Rock (out in the sea ice) colonies are the furthest south colonies of substantial size. Small colonies occur further south at Scott Base (at the very tip of the peninsula) and at White Island (the southernmost mammals in the world...see my previous post). Mount Discovery (ancient volcano), Black Island (above Turtle Rock). and the Transantarctic Mountains in the background. The high point on the peninsula is Castle Rock, a popular recreational hike and climb that can be made from McMurdo.