Thursday, 23 February 2012

A plethora of penguins!

Apologies for the lack of blog updates in the last couple of days, but unfortunately a medical issue meant that the ship has had to return to the Falkland Islands. Whilst this was disappointing from the science perspective, it has given the scientists, technicians and crew a little bit of down-time. Yesterday, a group of eight visited Volunteer Point in the north of East Falkland to see the king and gentoo penguin colonies, whilst another group went for a shorter expedition to Gypsy Cove, where we saw three groups of Magellanic (or jackass) penguins. Most of the scientists have spent this morning exploring Stanley and buying penguin-themed souvenirs! A group of us also visited the Stanley Museum, which had some fascinating exhibits on the warrah, an extinct fox-like creature that once inhabited the Falklands, and on the 1982 Conflict. Stanley also features a 1 to 1 billion scale model of the solar system, created by a local artist.  The sun appears as a metre diameter sphere in the centre of town, with the planets then found to scale to the west of the main town. Earth appears about the size of a marble a couple of hundred metres away, whilst Pluto is a tiny ball bearing close to the summit of Mount Tumbledown several kilometers to the west. Thank you to Tom and Lou for all the photos.

RRS James Cook from the launch

The shipwreck of the Lady Elizabeth

Magellanic penguins at Gypsy Cove
Magellanic penguins at Yorke Bay

The sun, at the start of the Solar System Trail, in Stanley

The Earth and moon with the sun and RRS James Cook in the background!

Ben in penguin attire with king penguins at Volunteer Point!

RRS James Cook by night

Adorable gentoo penguins swimming at Volunteer Point

Gentoos and kings at Volunteer Point beach

We sailed this evening from Stanley at 6 p.m. and should return to Shag Rocks Passage on Saturday.

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