About two weeks after the Cape Evans trip, on Raytheon Thanksgiving, the Berkeley group plus a couple extras went on a snowmobile trip to Cape Royds. It took about 2 hours to get there with a strong tailwind the whole way. Cape Royds is one of the major Adelie penguin rookeries. The snowmobile parking area is between the slopes of Erebus and a point of land that juts out into the ocean. As the six of us walked up the point, we all stopped one by one at the top. Before us was a mostly cloudy sky, the Royal Society Range, open water with choppy waves, about 1000 Adelie penguins, and Shackleton's 1908 hut. Quite a sight.
Since Cape Royds is farther south along the coast of Ross Island than the other penguin rookeries, it was among the hardest hit by the extra sea ice that has been hanging around for the last few years as a result of our icebergs. The icebergs block the normal current flow in McMurdo Sound, reducing the normal melting of sea ice by sea water. The extra sea ice last year and the year before meant that the adult penguins had to walk long distances (something they're not really built for) in order to reach their nesting sites. Last year's nesting season was a 100