Update from the Cape!

Luis Huckstadt at Cape Shirreff, Antarctica-- It's been very busy at the Cape these last couple of weeks. The daily routine hasn't changed that much from the previous report, but the workload has not decreased a bit! We continue with our daily flipper tag resights of Antarctic fur seals along the coast of the Cape. We're trying to make sure that we count them accurately, as well as trying to figure out if the moms still have their pups. Fur seals seem to be really good moms, and keep track of their pups really well.

Days At The Cape

Luis Huckstadt at Cape Shirreff, Antarctica--Days at the camp are pretty busy, and it's really interesting. We start our work day early, heading out for Antarctic fur seal tag resights, or searching for flipper tags. These are little tags, on squirmy seals, so it usually takes most of our morning. Besides resighting tags, we count individuals which can be complicated in cold places like the Antarctica!  On chilly days, seals tuck their flippers under their bodies to conserve body heat, making our mission of reading their flipper tags quite the challenge!

Arriving at the Cape

Luis Huckstadt at Cape Shirreff, Antarctica-- I'm finally here at The Cape! It's a stormy Antarctic day, so I thought that I'd take this opportunity to write you a report of my expedition so far!

 

The Busy Season

Nicole Teutschel at UC Santa Cruz, Long Marine Lab--Accountants have tax season, teachers... back to school, malls have the holidays: TOPP biologists are busy now...when many species are ready for tags, all at once! TOPP biologists are busy deploying satellite tags on five species....and that's just today!

Goodbye, Cape Shirreff...For Now

Daniel Costa at UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab -- To wrap up our Antarctic adventure, here are a few last photos from our field work down south. These images were taken on the last few days at Cape Shirreff. By the way, according to Wikipedia, Cape Shirreff (62°27S, 60°47W) is " a prominent cape at the north end of the rocky cove which separates Hero and Barclay bays on the north coast of Livingston Island, in the South Shetland Islands. Named by Edward Bransfield in 1820 for Captain William H.

Leopard Seals Tagged!

Dan Costa, aboard the Yuzomegeologia, returning from Antarctica -- We weren't sure it would work....but we did it! We tagged four leopard seals!

When I first went to Cape Shirreff, a remote outpost in the Shetland Islands, in the late 1990's, you could count on seeing the occasional leopard seal. If you were lucky, you might see a leopard seal take a pup or a penguin.

Antarctic Fur Seal Trek: On to Leopard Seals!

Dan Costa, aboard the Yuzomegeologia, off Livingston Island, Antarctica - We just finished the fur seal surveys for this leg of the cruise. We
are now moving operations to the field camp at Cape Shirreff. Once on the Island we will be deploying CTD telemetry tags on southern elephant seals and standard satellite telemetry tags on leopard seals. The leopard seal work will be a new project for us, and rather exciting!! 

Antarctic Fur Seal Trek: Looking for Pups

Dan Costa, aboard the Yuzomegeologia, near Livingston Island - After a long day at sea waiting for the weather to turn, we woke up this morning and the sun was shining. It's been 6 years since I last visited Cape Shirreff. It's nice to be back. It's certainly a special place. We spent the morning unloading gear and supplies and then went off to a nearby island to census fur seal pups there. Once that was done, we left our colleagues at the Cape and went to Window Island and counted more fur seal pups. It was so sunny that I got sunburned!

Fur Seal Trek: Weathered In

Dan Costa, aboard the Yuzomegeologia, near Livingston Island - Well, our luck finally ran out. After a wonderful corssing of the Drake Passage from Chile to the Shetland Islands, and a very easy day of offloading supplies at Copa Field Station, we had hoped for the best as we made our passage to Cape Shirreff. The weather was promising as we were able to make it through Nelson pass and save a lot of time getting to the Cape. However, just as we were arriving, the weather picked up. Fifty-knot winds gusted to 70-80 knots.

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