A few more updates from the MS Oliva Tristan-based Diary. To see the full diary, including many new pictures, click here.
Bad weather hampers clean-up transport
Tuesday was another bitingly cold day on Tristan with strong winds and 5 metre swells. Bad weather prevented landing at either Nightingale or Inaccessible. MV Edinburgh took 5.5 hours to make the 25 mile journey between Nightingale and Tristan, a trip which normally takes around 2.5 hours. The tug Singapore left Cape Town today with the SANCOB team and equipment on board, delayed by fog the previous evening.
First oil pollution and oiled penguin in Tristan waters –
At 09.30 MV Edinburgh reported two oil slicks 3-4 miles off the south of Tristan. At 12.45 the first oil covered penguin was reported to have been found on the main island of Tristan. Fisherman Desmond Green found the penguin on the beach near Red Sands to the south-west of the Settlement Plain. Environmental Advisor Estelle van der Merwe confirmed that the penguin had been very recently oiled and that oil covered feather samples have been taken. Conservation Officer Trevor Glass has arranged for a team of three to walk out from the Settlement early on Wednesday 30 th March to check the beaches down to the Caves and Stony Beach in the south of the island.
Penguin Rehabilitation News
In the rehab shed the team are doing really well and fed every single penguin, 1593 penguins in total. More of the cleaner penguins were moved out to the swimming pool, making 282 now in the pool. There are approx 500 penguins left in the shed which gives us room for up to 600 possible new arrivals, as the rest were all strong enough to go outside. It also provides an opportunity to put down a fresh layer of volcanic sand. Nightingale is still holding approximately 600 penguins which it is hoped can be collected soon.
Penguin casualties rising
An intensive care unit or ‘sick bay’ was set up today in a portable container with an adjacent holding area. There are 98 penguins in the ICU and these thin and weak penguins are being given electrolytes and tube fed with Hills a/d, a high nutrition solution. Penguins here are receiving special attention mainly because of being underweight. There were 22 penguins that died in the rehab centre on Monday 28th plus the Broad-billed prion from Alex Island which was heavily oiled, and 21 dead penguins on Tuesday 29th.
Editor’s note: It is understood the total number of dead penguins during Tristan rehab is now 96.
Team work to keep penguins fed with fish
The Sandy Point Express was out again today with a team of fisherman catching fish for the penguins. Pensioner Joyce Hagan and Diana Green were cutting up fish all day into little squares for feeding the penguins.
As usual, we will keep you posted as information comes in.