My Alphabet of Crozet

 

March 2010

A: Albatroses Abundant And Absolutely Amazing.

Dancing Albatroses

Photo: Aurelien Prudor

 

There is a trail across their colony. Sylvain the chief took me there to see those birds from close distance. There is something so incredibly cute, pure and noble abound those giant white birds.

B: "BCR" - Bruno - Béééé.

Explained: "Radio officer" - named Bruno - calling his callsign. (mouflon of Crozet). Radiocommunication is a great fun.

C: Cro-ni-bar = Cheerfull Company. Cooperative = Crozet Chandlery

Phillipe the chief barman and Jean-Luc who likes ringing the bell. Lionel has no bell in his Coop but its fun to shop there anyway.

D: Decidedly Dancing Daniel.

Although I have been pretending some dancing before I never did it so much as during the two friday nights at Crozet. Thanks to Alice and Marion for taking my hesitation away. I enjoyed it. I had a vague idea about walz but I had never thought I could perform Russian "kozatchek". It was my Crozet Discovery.

E: Electronics: Exiting, Elaborated, Expensive.

All used to study King Penguins. Sensors for movements, puls and blood pressure, GPS localization, dive depth, body and stomach temperature. Also an identification system to monitor penguins entering and leaving the colony. Onesime explained me how the system works. Penguins can be watched by webcams and a researcher can be waken up be alarm if one of the chosen penguins appears. This is possible because of electronic chips under the penguins´skin. (Identification system Tiris is used.) Perhaps one day they will be born with it.

F: Fantastic French Friends

I know that Astrid is actually Swiss but it makes no difference. Few places I had visited had such atmosphere: Enough humor and group spirit in the air, pleasant place to be. (Ukranian station Vernadski was similar) I believe that one who deserves a lot of credit for this is Fabrice who is a very good cook and works hard.

G: Grim Gashing Giants´Gorge.

Talking about Giant petrels feeding on penguins. (Their powerfull beak gets thrue even an elephant seal skin. Bloody red head of the bird tells how deep they can reach.) They tear penguins apart, starting the feast before the pray is dead. They especially like penguin babies. But let´s talk about something positive: They are marvelous fliers. Two times around the world in 7 month. Aurelien the ornitologist told me about this discovery which was made with GLS trekking device on a young Giant petrel during its first long flight.

Giant Petrel

 

H: Humble Hillbilly Hospital.

With a real (not hillbilly) doctor. Fishing ships sometimes call when an injury needs an attention. It seems that fishing industry is very efficient in cutting hands and chipping fingers off. There was no problem on Waterbird and Fabien the doctor seemed to be pleased by this fact.

I: Immensely Immpresive Isolated Islands In Indian ocean. Inumerable Ilots and Iles inaccesible but I Investigated IledelaPossession Interrogating Its Inviting Inhabitants.

 

J: Just Jolly

The clouds and the sun fighting over the cliffs and green inland with volcanic sloaps make a spectacular view.

 
    Ile del Est            Ile de la Possession  

 

K: Kerguelen Kraut

(i.e. cabbage)A source of vitamin C for shipwrecked mariners can be found in Crozets. Because it is protected by law it is better to visit the Kitchen at the base and ask for something else. 

Kerguelen cabbagge

L: Lovely Light (mantled sooty albatros)

I believe this bird has the cutes eye of all birds. Also their body anatomy is different from other albatroses. When I see them flying, I would say they are something special. (Like Porsche among other cars). The perfectly synchronised flight of the pair is their way of courting. Nesting on the cliffs,their chicks have high mortality (70%). Big storm can sweep them out of their nests.

M: Mighty Moustache Marvel

There was a remarkable moustache competiton on friday night. I took part but I could not compete with other vegetation which was carefully grown under contolled conditions weeks before my arrival. There was also women cathegory in this competition which may sound a bit scandalous. Perhaps more scandalous is the fact that this category was judged by their armpits.

N: Notably Nice Notre dame

Like Notre dame in Paris, Crozet church is lit during the night and has a bell. Perhaps it is a bit smaller and does not have so much decoration. But it has a beautifull view over the ocean and Ile de´l Est. There is a heating inside!

From Notre Dame church

O: Orcas Observation: O.

Unfortunately resident orcas families were all on holidays. I have not seen any. They are folowing fishing ships, stealing fish from the hooks at this time of the year.

P: Picturesque Penguinologists´Paradise

Few researches around Antarctic have their base in the middle of King Penguin colony. All the toys already there. Appart from the electronics (see E) I have seen a machine to make penguins run and also an operation table. It seems that there are actually two tables to operate penguins and only one for humans in Crozet. There is also a chamber to study penguin breathing. Jeremy, who is studing penguin metabolism, made a breathing masks from Coca cola bottle - perfect size for Kings.

Penguinologist desk

 

Q: Quotable Question

Will Daniel survive? Reffering to a penguin baby which was named Daniel by Marion and Vincent. Doing a research of King chicks, they put fishtags on some of them. Daniel has a fishtag with a picture of Waterbird. So Daniel is something like my Crozet kid. It is the end of the season and the chick mortality is very high (70% is whole season average) but Daniel is properly fed (code Z+) so I keep my fingers crossed. I hope you will make it!

Daniels

 

R: Rapt Research, Raptureous Rain.

Its just happening almost every day. So powerfull they can not stop each other. Hail is not rare either.

S: Soulful Stamping = Singular Service + Sacred Seance

Everybody has a stamp and postmaster´s job is to use it on outgoing letters and other documents. It is far from soulless bureaucracy. It is a passionate art.

Stamping as a passionate art

 

T: Terns The Travelers

It is unbelievable but 3 kind of terns can be seen on the island. Kerguelen T., Antarctic T., Arctic T. Hard to tell them apart. Some of them travel thousands of miles, weighting just little over 100 grams. If some people were like them, they would be on Mars already.

U: US bay

It is a place of 19th century visit of American sealers. Dark beach with penguins and elphant seals, beaching orcas in spring or early summer. Beautiful green valley inland with dancing albatroses. Moby Dick river with trouts. (Trouts came from France, not US. Far from Moby Dick size.) Great trip to the hut with Alice, Marion, Camille and Remi.

American Bay

 

V: Vent - Vin

My French is terrible, perhaps I got the spelling correct. I found these two words too similar to tell them appart. It is very confusing. Two things are sure: 1) There is plenty of both in Crozet. 2) One is sometimes very strong and the other one is always very good. When it comes to my French, there is also a way how to say "20" and it all sounds quite similar.

W: Wonderfull Waterbird - White chinned petrel

I´v hade an honour to accompany Aurore the ornitilogist when she ringed the chicks about 3 month old. She took them out of their burrows and it was nice to hold them in my hands for a while.

Ringing White chinned petrels

 

X: Xavier

Thanks for lending be clothes for a trip and also for teaching me something about computers.

Y: Yes.

Absolutely, it is hard to find something starting with Y

Z: Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 3

Walking rules around the island: Z1 - you can go on your own, Z2 - you need a seccond person, Z3 - you have to be three. You do not need passport between the zones but otherwise it is pretty serious (for security reasons. I needed an escort for a relatively easy walk back from American Bay.) There might be a Zone Zero (ZZ) somewhere, where nobody is allowed to go!

Trip to US bay

 

Dead tired

 

 

 
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