But spirits are high! The leader of the expedition, Professor Chris Turney, even had time to send out this “Happy New Year” YouTube video.
But there is some disturbing news, as reported by the Guardian’s Alok Jha, who is on the expedition:
Ornithologist Kerry-Jayne Wilson counted the populations of Adélie penguins. She found what she had feared – numbers in decline – and something worse: bodies of dead chicks littering the rookeries and many eggs not being properly incubated. These birds feed on the seashore, which has moved some 70km thanks to ice around Cape Denison. Every extra kilometre the penguins have to walk reduces the energy available for rearing young. Until iceberg B09B melts and the fast ice dissipates and returns open water to Cape Denison, penguin numbers will continue to drop.
No word yet from the ornithologist or Jha on how many penguins will die if the ship gets crushed by the ice, sinks, and spills its fuel.