200,000 Penguins

We didn’t have a great night’s sleep in Moltke Harbour. The katabatic winds flowing down the Ross Glacier were giving us gusts of up to 49 knots of wind. We took it in turn to do an hour of anchor watch each and the anchor held beautifully all night. We didn’t want to risk putting too much load on the anchor windlass and so we had a tricky hour of using the two primary jib sheet winches to help the windlass pull the anchor up the next morning. Mine, John and Sarah’s shoulders were all feeling the strain after that much winching. There was great communication between Dick, James and Nick on the foredeck and Clare on the helm too. As soon as we got the anchor on deck the wind dropped off (I knew that we should have just had an extra hour in bed) and so we got some stunning views of the Ross Glacier on our way out of the bay.

Stronger north westerly winds had been forecast for the next few days and so we’d decided that now was a good time to head north and west along the island. On our way past we stuck our nose into St Andrews Bay again. The swell had subsided overnight and a charter boat Hans Hansen was already in the bay, with a BBC film crew ashore filming. We called them on the VHF radio to get an update on the conditions and they gave us directions to the best beach to land on. We launched the RIB and the Zodiac dinghies and motored ashore. We were greeted at the landing site by some very inquisitive King Penguins. As we wandered along the beach there were more King Penguins everywhere. Fur seal pups were sleeping and playing with each other on the grass at the back of the beach. A group of eight male Elephant seals were also on the beach. Elephant Seals display sexual dimorphism with the males can be up to 10 times the size of the females. These males were didn’t have fully developed noses yet, but it was impressive watching two of these massive animals (males can weigh up to 4.5 tonnes) play fight and slam their bodies into each other. Further along the beach we encountered the main group of King Penguins. With up to 100,000 pairs they were so tightly packed together that we could only watch from the edges, but the noise and the smell was impressive.

Afterwards, we motored to Husvik before some stronger winds from the north west filled in, and Clare and team (with James tucked up in bed) brought the boat in and anchored in Husvik for the night.

We cooked the last of the lamb meals using our Falklands carcass (known as Leftie as it hung on the port side of the boat). Slightly later than planned the crew sat down to cheese cigars to start, lamb mousaka and spiced red cabbage for main and Di’s orange drizzle cake for pudding. The evening’s entertainment came in the form of a puppet play, using various vegetables and kitchen cooking equipment, and told the story of the fisherman finding true love.   Another fabulous ‘Come dine with lamb’!

Today some of the team are going to attempt to walk over the final section of the Shackleton route whilst others will stay on the boat to chill out and have a look at the whalers remains (from a safe distance of course!) at Husvik.

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1 Response to 200,000 Penguins

  1. Barbara matthewman says:

    I think I have acquired a copy of Penguin News with a full page article and photos of Elinca and crew (?). If you have any idea of if when you are back in Stanley could you let me know. I have a friend visiting daughter and grandkids at Mount Pleasant at the moment . I would let them know when you are in and maybe they can visit you.

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