There's always something good around the corner, and it was today! It was a ripsnorter of a day. Until I actually got into the IRB I didn't believe I'd actually get ashore, but it happened. I had a whole day watching animals and drawing and photographing them, and didn't come back to the ship until just on dark. The boat trip both ways was very exciting with big waves and howling wind, with the King Penguins still chasing us. I spent a long time this morning on the beach behind the station watching three young Elephant Seals playing in the shallows, wrestling and biting each other. They look so sleek and graceful in the water and so obese and stinky on land. I drew some Gentoo Penguins, then found some Rockhopper Penguins, cute little dudes with yellow tassels on their heads, and took photos of them. After lunch I watched some Giant Petrels feeding on the carcase of a dead Elephant Seal, poking their heads right into it and coming out all red and slimy, very gruesome. I sketched some Elephant Seals with all their disgusting dribbles and then moved along to the King Penguins and drew them. One poor fellow had a huge scab on his tummy where something had obviously tried to eat him, but Georgie said he would probably be ok if he'd survived so far. She said that usually if a penguin comes ashore hurt, the Skuaas surround it and peck it to death. It's a tough world down here. We pulled away from Macquarie Island at about 7.00pm. blowing our hooter and with flares going off on shore and on the ship. Once again there are some sad people who've said goodbye to the friends they've been living with for a year. The people left behind on Macquarie won't have any visitors now until October. It would be a wonderful place to spend some time, but I'm glad I'm going home.
Ít doesn’t really feel as though I’m on my way to Antarctica. It feels more like I am on a floating health farm, fabulous food, great gym, no stresses or worries. It has been foggy all day today with calm seas but even so I am very careful about going on deck. It’s such a big ocean that I can’t help imagining how terrible it would be to fall overboard. I watched shearwaters ( mutton birds ) flying around the ship yesterday.