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20 November, 2000

FYI answer for 11/19/00

No one owns Antarctica. A passport is not required to enter. It is a free, open, unmilitarized land of international cooperation and scientific research. The Antarctic Treaty was developed for cooperation and for management of Antarctic concerns. The treaty entered into force in1961.

There was a very bright light in the sky today. I think they call it the sun. After a good portion of our week was snowy and cloudy, it was a very welcome sight. It was time to leave McMurdo and head back to our camp at Big Razorback Island. We arrived after the place was uninhabited for four days. Katsu and I arrived here in the middle of the afternoon. We unpacked and headed across the new snow to get back to work too.

Our new challenge was for the two of us to try and complete the work of three. We had to attach a camera and data recorder. Fortunately for us, the females are starting to become smaller in size. The pups continue to feed and they are getting larger. When the pups nurse, they are taking nutrients and protein from the mother. This increases the pups' fat, which then becomes blubber. This then decreases the mothers' body fat. With the smaller females, capturing and handling them will hopefully continue to get a little easier. We completed our first task sooner than we both expected. This female mother did not put up much of a struggle, and we completed the attachment in average time.

My next task was to go dig and chisel out the ice hole in which our underwater camera is located. The ice hole is normally cleared on a daily basis. With everyone in camp having been in McMurdo for the last three days, I knew it would be a difficult jo, and it was. I used a six-foot steel chisel and a large fish tank net. Once the ice is broken up, the fish net is used to scoop the ice and drain te seawater out. The ice is thrown onto the snow. There is a large pile of ice building up on the snow next to the ice hole. Unfortunately, something has malfunctioned in the transmission, so we have not been able to get any video pictures for a week now.

The task of keeping up with data has been eased by having the past week's snow days. There are also fewer and fewer seals needing to be tagged because the new pups have been tagged, and there doesn't seem to be anymore births occurring.

This allows more days in between the census to go on out-of-the-area trips. In most cases to get out of the area means flying. In these areas the study concentrates on finding out if seals that have tags from our study area are emigrating out or if there are any seals with similar DNA from the study area out there too.

After spending the last three days and nights in McMurdo, it was time to get back to cooking our own meals, doing the dishes, getting drinking water out of a cooler, and running outside to use the bathroom, just to name a few. I don't think I will feel the effects of not showering for a couple of days. Katsu and I were the only ones to return. The others will return tomorrow.


There are a few nicknames used here in Antarctica; Beaker * a nickname for_____________, Boomerang * a ______________ that departs but returns to its origin due to weather considerations, Kiwi * a nickname that refers to _________

Can you tell which one is mother and which one is pup

With bad weather and a broken camera, the hole was neglected and is now a little frozen shut.

Just part of my job

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