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.

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: Pups!

Dan Costa, aboard the Yuzomegeologia, off Livingston Island - For the last two days, we've been busy counting fur seal pups to get an idea of how their population is doing. We count the pups, because the moms often go to sea to feed. If we counted females on the beach, we'd only count 20-30% of the number of females in the rookery here. The time they spend at sea varies from season to season, so you can't correct for the number present. So, we just count the number of pups.

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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