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Feb. 18th, 2011 @ 06:45 am Open water, orcas and seals!
A few nights ago we had a big wind storm tear through town. The wind stirred all evening, into the night and come morning we awoke to discover that the wind had blown all of the pack ice out of the water in front of the station. What was once a collection of cracked ice had suddenly become a sheet of shimmering water, as far as the eye could see. We had a lot of open water last year but this is more than we have had for decades (short history: we used to get a lot of open water here but about 10 years ago a massive iceberg (b15) broke off from the shelf and clogged the passage).

All of this openwater has not gone unnoticed by the local wildlife. Last night while hiking I spent about 30 minutes watching a pod of orcas (killer whales) playing in the distance (you could tell what they were by their behavior and dorsal fin shape). They eventually found a group of about 30 penguins hanging out near the ice edge and spent some time checking them out. Every few minutes I would watch a giant head pop up out the water, right in front of the penguins, and stare. Luckily for the penguins they weren't close to the edge.

There was also a seal swimming in the shallows near our shoreline. I noticed it as I hiked right by it, probabl like 15 feet from it. I have never been that close to a seal down here before. I think it was most likely a weddell but it might have been a leopard seal.


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In the center, you can see three dorsal fins. On my copy I can zoom and make out the fins.

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About this Entry
south pole
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From:siliconivy
Date:February 17th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
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some amazing pics, as usual. thanks for posting.
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From:brighty18
Date:February 17th, 2011 06:32 pm (UTC)
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Fantastic shots!
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From:mokitty
Date:February 17th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
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Wow. I'm surprised to see everything isn't 100% covered by snow and ice. I guess I thought every inch of land would be white.
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From:nanila
Date:February 17th, 2011 08:38 pm (UTC)
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That seal is plotting some kind of hostile iceberg takeover. I advise keeping your distance.
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From:whatsarahsaid
Date:February 17th, 2011 11:25 pm (UTC)
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Wow, these pictures are SO neat!! I'm not a seal expert, but Google is making me think that's a Weddell because of the big eyes.

vs.
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From:mananath
Date:February 18th, 2011 06:00 am (UTC)
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Yep. Also the whiskers are different on the two species.
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From:amour_solaire
Date:February 18th, 2011 01:43 am (UTC)
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Wonderfully brilliant, my friend.
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From:phoenixfire12
Date:February 18th, 2011 03:35 am (UTC)
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These photos definately have MY "seal of approval".
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From:koibito007
Date:March 2nd, 2011 04:25 pm (UTC)
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As enchanting as your pictures are, going there is just not something I would want to do. Still, very cool! (Ha!)