January has been the month for Minke whales. With huge amounts of krill (a shrimp-like marine creature which is the main food source for many Antarctic animals) in the water around Rothera, wildlife has been abundant. There were Minke whale sightings every day in January, pilots reported seeing pods of up to 50 whales in Marguarite Bay and nearly every boat trip was rewarded with a visit from one or two curious individuals. Assisting on my CTD boat suddenly became very desirable despite the requirement to help winch the CTD. On two occasions this month we had Minke circling around and swimming under the small inflatable CTD boat – it was an amazing experience.
We had a pod of Orca (killer whales) visit later on in the month, they were too far out in Ryder Bay to get any decent photos of them so I stood and watched them through binoculars. They were clearly playing around and having a lot of fun, one of the calves leapt completely out of the water – an awesome sight!