January 3, 2009
Try as we might to stick with mechanized time, our schedule has been shifting a bit later each day. With 24-hour daylight, it doesn’t really matter when we work, though it is admittedly colder at “night” with the sun lower in the sky. We are now going to bed at 3am and getting up at noon, working in the penguin colony from about 4pm to 10pm, and eating dinner at 11pm. If we sleep in and shift our schedule one hour later each day, then, in 24 days, we’ll be back where we started! Well, maybe it’s best just to set an alarm.
The penguins don’t seem to have a schedule. With constant daylight, individual birds just catch naps whenever they can, and overall activity level in the colony is about the same no matter what time it is. Walking around the colony, we try to make a wide pass around sleeping birds. If you approach a sleeping penguin, it usually awakes with a start as you’re about to step on it, and, looking up at a strange creature in a bright red jacket, it runs blindly away in startled confusion. If I woke up one morning to a giant penguin about to step on me, I’d be confused, too.