On Christmas eve I went out for a stroll around Arrival Heights and Hut Point. On the descent I noticed some unusual shadows out on the ice. From a distance it was hard to discriminate what was casting the shadow, but since there aren't too many native fauna species - I was able to guess that these were the first penguins of the season.
They are usually only found around the edge of the sea ice shelf or along the sea shore. Currently the ice shelf extends out about 20 miles from the station; but it is melting quick. I found out how much the conditions have deteriorated when trying to get on the ice from the shore. Crushing pressure has pulverized a section of ice that abuts the shore, causing me to have a very 'exciting' transition onto the solid ice.
When I finally made it out onto solid ice, I slowly started shuffling towards the lonely pair. As soon as they spotted me, they took off at a clip and I figured my opportunity was lost. Amazingly, they started coming right towards me; their curiosity was my salvation.
We enjoyed each others company for as long as my frost bitten feet would allow. When I started heading back towards the shore they took off after me. I began to hope they would follow be back to the barracks; perhaps make it a 'two penguin night'.
T'was the best Christmas present Mama Gaia could have given me.