Saturday, October 19, 2013

Preparing for the Traverse

by Amy, Saturday, October 19

We remain at anchor near the head of King Haakon Bay. Everyone slept in and awoke in good cheer. Breakfast included banana muffins and French toast. The day dawned with a light breeze which has developed into a stern 35+ knot wind—too much to ferry equipment ashore in preparation for Monday morning's departure. Unless the wind abates we will have to transport everything tomorrow (Sunday). After breakfast we took the opportunity to pack our food stores per tent occupants: Gretchen, Cam and Skip will be in one three-man tent; Larry, Ed and I in the other; Julian and Giorgio will be in a two-man tent that Julian brought along from the UK. The general food stores were all laid out in the salon and each team thought out what they would like for breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner. Items are stowed in ziplock baggies and then put into a waterproof food bag for each pulk. Each person pulls a pulk that also contains their sleeping bag and personal gear (extra clothes, tooth brush, book, etc.). We will each wear a backpack with an extra layer of warm clothes, crampons, head torch, ice axe etc.

Right now everyone is working on their own to-do lists: sewing up holes in pockets, deciding which book to take (in case we're tent-bound in a blizzard for a day or more), putting skins on skis, checking harnesses, ropes, bindings etc.

I spoke with Skip this morning about the plight of Adelie penguins, whose colder habitat is shrinking as temperatures rise. The northern colonies must go further south and relocate where they can find room away from other established colonies. Gentoos, on the other hand, have more options for their colonies since they inhabit warmer climes. My new personal favorite is the King penguin with its beautiful orange/yellow neck and gray/black back feathers. I look forward to exploring the north side of the island after the traverse to see all the wildlife.


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