Ellie rescue. / by Jerry

3rd December

A complete contrast to yesterday weather-wise, as the rain and cloud made the place seem a lot more like being back on Bird Island. With good waterproofs on I set off for a walk anyway but soon got distracted just past Grytviken by a seal rescue team. A drainage ditch that runs around the cemetery had become a bit eroded with the rain and meltwater and an Elephant Seal had managed to fall in and get stuck. Not a small one, it was wallowing like an unhappy hippo when we got there. I joined Rod, Sue and Daniel in digging out a wide channel to act as a slipway for it to climb up and escape. What I thought might be a big job was fairly simple, for as soon as it could see a route out the ellie started trying to climb, desperate to get its weight on firm ground. It was rewarding to see this mud-covered monster shuffling its way down to the sea.

One unhappy elephant seal.
Team seal rescue.
One relieved seal.
I continued on my way past many more sleeping ellies and small groups of Fur Seals, several with small puppies. I was continually interested by the number and variety of whale bones strewn over the narrow stretch of pebbles. I find the old whaling stations, such as Grytviken, both fascinating and horrific and the casual way all these treasures were scattered along the shore only gives a small sense of the scale of such an industry. I can't help but contrast it to the excitement and happiness we felt when seeing a small group of possible Sperm Whales way out at sea from the cliffs of Bird Island.

A whale vertebra. A bit big and probably illegal to bring back, however good a Christmas present it would make for my mum.

Wet from the feet up from stepping in bogs, rather than top down from all the rain, I arrived at Penguin River in time to eat my lunch watching a group of King Penguins in different moult stages huddle together while around them more young Elephant Seals wrestled in the water and male Fur Seal chased their ladies around, trying to round them up into harems.

King Penguins moulting in the well-named Penguin River.