The End is in Sight and So are the Squid
It's early morning of December 31 here on the ship. Things are quiet right now because we're waiting for the gale force winds to die out and the sea to calm so we can start drilling again. We had to suspend drilling early yesterday afternoon because of the swells.
The last few nights have been very entertaining. Shoals (or is it a school?) of squid are attracted to the lights on the ship. It results in sort of an all you can eat squid buffet for the marine animals. One night I had great fun watching seals feed on the squid. Last night the squid were being attacked on two fronts - unseen predators under the water, and the Savin and Royal Southern Albatross on the surface. Watching the albatross feed was really funny, because they're not nearly as graceful as when they fly. The were making lunges for the squid, and stopping so quickly they practically did sommersaults and flips on top of the water.
When the squid were attacked from below they would literally leap out of the water trying to get away - this is usually when the albatross had the best luck - snagging them out of the air. As they jumped up, they would squirt streams of water behind them. Again - very amusing to see.
I think the squid were not having as much fun being chased and eaten, as I had watching them being chased and eaten, but it's the food web in action!
Simon George, one of our scientists, got some good pictures actually of the group of squid - there were hundreds of them. He also got a video of one of the albatross having some success. It's on the ship's youtube channel at www.youtube.com/watch