Thanks to all the bloggers who have left lovely words of appreciation on the site. It has been very encouraging to hear how interested you have all been. During the journey back I have had regrets about the short time I actually had to do the things I wanted to – the narrow windows of good weather and the resupply organisation priorities meant that I had no time to review my recordings and work on getting the best sound, and wind has marred a lot of the sounds I was looking for. So I am happy that even the small amount of what I have achieved has been stimulating for the imagination. I will now be spending time going over the material I have to see what I can make of it. Certainly the Centennial program is something that would not have happened without the focus and meaning of the voyage itself, and that is something I hope to build on and present many more times at home during the next few years of the celebrations.
We are rolling home quite speedily now, but will not make up the two days we lost due to the poor visability and blizzards at the end of resupply at Mawson. Most of the people on board are in a kind of let-down or relaxed holiday mood after a strenuous season of work, or they are busy catching up on paper-work and writing articles. We are losing one hour each night for six nights, which is a most peculiar adjustment and turning up for meals has become rather haphazard.
Bird life is still quite active, with a large albatross seen this morning around the ship for a couple of hours. Yesterday I marvelled at the dipping of the small shearwaters – they use the wind from the waves and swoop suddenly so close, making my heart leap as they disappear from sight for a moment as they change angle. I learnt that these little birds can dive up to 60-70 meters underwater to catch their food which I think is quite extraordinary. As the size of the sea birds increases, their diving depth decreases – the largest albatross might dive up to 2 meters – their wings are heavy to move underwater. Other small birds get up to 20 meters.