Hello everyone and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with decorations, trees, lots of food, presents and spending time with your families. Down here Rothera had the traditional turkey, crackers and singing carols. Bryony had a lovely time, but what about me? Well, I was away for Christmas on a very special trip.
Although Father Christmas lives at the North Pole, I got to go to the South Pole! Rothera is in Antarctica, but still a long way from the very bottom of the Earth. A scientist and a pilot from Rothera get the chance every year to visit the most famous spot in Antarctica to check on some scientific equipment BAS has there; and I asked if I could go along. As I am very light they could squeeze me onto the plane, along with a couple of other friends.
The American’s run a station there, bigger than Rothera, called the Amundsen-Scott Station, after the two great explorers who lead the first parties to walk to the South Pole. As the South Pole has land under it we can build there. At the North Pole there is only ice, so it moves all the time. If you build a house on the North Pole one day, it wouldn’t be there the next!
It is amazing to think that 100 years ago men risked their lives to walk for months pulling sledges to get to this place, and now there are planes landing, showers and even an ice making machine here.
Back at Rothera it is warming up and more and more of my distant relatives (penguins) are turning up. There are also a lot of seals. These are mostly Elephant seals, which are huge and smelly, but quite funny as they burp, roar and fart all day long, lulling around and scratching themselves. Sometimes they fight each other, but these are not the adult males, so they are only practicing. They are here to rest and moult. Although they look clumsy and lazy on land, in sea they are fantastic divers and have been recorded diving a mile and half under water! They can also hold their breath for over an hour and a half. Here I am with one of the Elephant seals.
We also have some Crab Eaters and Weddle seals, which are much prettier. Here I am with a Weddle.
Rothera got busier last week as a ship came to visit. The James Clarke Ross, a BAS ship, which was bringing supplies for the station. As there are not many flights and aeroplane fuel is very expensive, almost all food, drink and equipment has to be brought here by ship. So we had a busy few days taking all the stuff off. Here is the ship:
Bryony and I were very excited as a box and bag we had packed 6 months ago came on the ship. This had more clothes and things in it for the 16 months we are staying. But you won’t believe who we found when Bryony and I were unpacking: Sid (see his profile at the bottom of the profile page). He smuggled his way into the luggage even though he knew he shouldn’t come. I love Sid, but he is too naughty and always getting into trouble. I really hope he behaves here or I will be very embarrassed.
That is all for now as I have another exciting trip coming up. Lots of love to you and your penguins, I would love to see any penguin Christmas photos on the website,
Love Pearl x
P.S. I have just had a very special message from a friend of Bryony’s in Africa. A sanctuary for rescued chimpanzees has sent us a photo. The baby chimps have lost their mothers, and it is even harder from them at the moment as there are health problems in the country, but they wanted to say “hi” and I will send them a photo of the penguins here.