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13 December, 2003

Shake Down Trip to Cape Royds

Today was our shake down trip to prepare for tomorrow’s traverse. Since the majority of us did not have a lot of experience driving ski-doos, a drive out to Cape Royds and the ice edge seemed like the perfect trip to practice our diving skills. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. On the way out the sun was shining and the wildlife seemed to come out and cheer us on. Along the way seals were sunning themselves on the ice, skuas soared over us and groups of whimsical adelie penguins were playing along the sea ice.

It’s amazing how much this place has changed in just a matter of weeks. The temperate has been steadily increasing and the sea ice is quickly retreating. The ice edge is now much closer and the huge icebergs towering in the dark blue water were an amazing sight. This obviously affected the look of Cape Royds, making it a completely new experience from the one I had just three weeks earlier.

On the trip home we stopped the skidoos to take pictures at the ice edge. All of a sudden we were s surrounded by a group of adelie penguins. Not wanting to disturb them, we got down on our bellies and just watched them. Adelie penguins are very curious and they were interested in us. Some even came within 5-10 feet of our faces. They check us out for about ten minutes and then decided that we were no longer interesting they waddled on along their merry way.

1. On Monday we took a class on snowmobiles. Our instructor, Jeff, taught us the ins and outs of a snowmobile including how to change belts, spark plugs, etc. Why is it important that all of us know how to do these things?

2. Engine close up

3. The group heading out for our shake down trip

4. Me on my machine

5. Seals sunning themselves

6. Penguins at Cape Royds. Note: During my last visit, open water had not reached this far.

7. Penguins at the ice edge

8. These adelie penguins are just as interested in us as we are of them.

9. More adelie penguins

10. Me at the ice edge

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