Sunday, February 8, 2009

days 15-16

Since the seal tagging, my excitement, which had reached a climax, is slowly fading out, as we are entering a more routine work schedule, which consists mainly in CTD casts, and I am starting to get used to seeing ice, penguins and seals around me. I am not getting bored for that matter, since we are kept busy by our work watches, and I am still enchanted by what I see around me. I am missing Marion and Margot, but I see them by skype about every other day, which eases the separation.

Below are some pictures of a crabeater seal, or white seal, the most abundant seal in the world, according to the book Antarctica - A guide to the wildlife, by Tony Soper. They have a creamy white pelage in the summer, and moult to a darker one in the winter.
Contrary to what their name suggest, they do not eat crabs ! They eat krill and other crustaceans. They may have been named as a result of confusion when translating from Scandinavian languages. According to my Norwegian watch buddies, Kjersti and Helge, these seals are called "kräft ätare" in Swedish, which means "shrimp eater". Kräft was then probably incorrectly translated as crab...

You don't want to annoy these animals : they can move at 25 km/h on ice !

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