Category

Penguin

Nature’s Best Photography Cover Shot

Antarctica, Penguin, Southern Ocean

The cover image of the current issue of Nature’s Best Photography is my photograph of an Adelie penguin taken earlier this year in Antarctica:

Adelie Penguin, Antarctica, Nature's Best Photography Spring/Summer 2010. Click to see more images from Antarctica

Adelie Penguin, Antarctica, Nature's Best Photography Spring/Summer 2010. Click to see more images from Antarctica

The photo also appears in the interior of the issue, since it was fortunate to be given an honorable mention in this years Ocean Views photography contest.

Adelie Penguins, Antarctica, Nature's Best Photography Ocean Views 2010

Adelie Penguins, Antarctica, Nature's Best Photography Ocean Views 2010

This image was taken at Paulet Island on the Antarctic Peninsula, made with a Canon 5D Mark II camera and 24-105mm f/4 lens (at 24mm), from a zodiac as we were idle alongside an iceberg. If you want to see what the situation was like when I took this shot — and you should, since it will make you want to visit Antarctica yourself! — see my blog post about this encounter from earlier this year. Several Adelie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) walked to the edge of an berg to get a good look at us as we cruised around Paulet Island at sunset, and allowed me to rattle off a series of “close/wide” images of them. Honestly, while the encounter was one of the most special moments of the trip for me, Adelie penguins are so numerous and inquisitive that I think situations like this — and photos like the above — are probably rather common in Antarctica. It is one of the reasons I intend to return as soon as I can.

Next: Paulet Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica
Previous: Pack Ice at the Edge of the Weddell Sea
Trip Index: Cheesemans Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
All “Southern Ocean” entries

Shingle Cove, Coronation Island, South Orkneys

Elephant Seal, Penguin, South Orkney Islands, Southern Ocean

Photos of Shingle Cove, Coronation Island, South Orkney Islands

Midway through our crossing from South Georgia Island to Antarctica we pass the South Orkney Islands, a small group of islands that lie almost exactly between South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula, making them a natural place to pause during our crossing and make a landing to stretch our legs a little. After our sunrise approach to Coronation Island, the icebreaker ship M/V Polar Star anchors and we go ashore at Shingle Cove to visit a colony of Adelie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae). The colony is set atop a bluff above the ocean, subject to blasting wind and snow. The wind is so strong that it knocks a chick over now and then.

Adelie penguin chicks, huddle together in a snowstorm for warmth and protection.  This group of chicks is known as a creche, Pygoscelis adeliae, Shingle Cove, Coronation Island, South Orkney Islands, Southern Ocean

Adelie penguin chicks, huddle together in a snowstorm for warmth and protection. This group of chicks is known as a creche.
Image ID: 25026
Species: Adelie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae
Location: Shingle Cove, Coronation Island, South Orkney Islands, Southern Ocean

Many of the chicks are huddled together for warmth in creches. Adjacent to the bluff is a snow covered slope that the penguins descend to reach a cobblestone beach. The thousands of birds in the colony have worn dirty winding poop-covered paths in the snow. I spend most of my time on the cobblestones, watching the penguins pass back and forth. Entering the water is a dangerous proposition for a penguin, since leopard seals often patrol the shallows waiting to strike.

Adelie penguins rush into the water en masse, from the cobblestone beach at Shingle Cove on Coronation Island, Pygoscelis adeliae

Adelie penguins rush into the water en masse, from the cobblestone beach at Shingle Cove on Coronation Island.
Image ID: 25028
Species: Adelie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae
Location: Shingle Cove, Coronation Island, South Orkney Islands, Southern Ocean

So the penguins gather in nervous groups at the water’s edge, making a few false starts before one of the braver individuals finally commits and dives in. Immediately the rest of the group follows suit, rushing into the water in a chaotic sprint. As the waves washing in and out are hard to judge, some penguins mistime their dives and land head first on the rocks, only to pop back up quickly and try again. In a few seconds it is over – the rocks are empty. The departing penguins can now be seen porpoising at great speed out to sea to spend time foraging for food. Penguins returning to shore arrive in smaller groups or individually, but speed through the water in the same nervous way, ending their swim with a leap and an agile stand-up landing onto the rocks.

Southern elephant seal, juvenile. The southern elephant seal is the largest pinniped, and the largest member of order Carnivora, ever to have existed. It gets its name from the large proboscis (nose) it has when it has grown to adulthood, Mirounga leonina, Shingle Cove, Coronation Island, South Orkney Islands, Southern Ocean

Southern elephant seal, juvenile. The southern elephant seal is the largest pinniped, and the largest member of order Carnivora, ever to have existed. It gets its name from the large proboscis (nose) it has when it has grown to adulthood.
Image ID: 25029
Species: Southern elephant seal, Mirounga leonina
Location: Shingle Cove, Coronation Island, South Orkney Islands, Southern Ocean

After a while I spot an elephant seal lounging in a pool on rocky reef. I spend some time laying on the rocks (uncomfortable) trying to photograph it at its eye level. I’m not sure I succeeded. After that, a visit to the nesting area is in order, to see the chicks and especially the adults feeding their young. On the snowy slope between the beach and the rookery I witness a southern giant petrel’s attack on a chick that ventured too far from the nest. The result is gory and tough to watch. The giant petrel does not dispatch its catch quickly. It takes about 10 minutes for the chick to die, during which time the skua consumes a good part of it.

Southern giant petrel kills and eats an Adelie penguin chick, Shingle Cove, Macronectes giganteus, Coronation Island, South Orkney Islands, Southern Ocean

Southern giant petrel kills and eats an Adelie penguin chick, Shingle Cove.
Image ID: 25027
Species: Southern giant petrel, Macronectes giganteus
Location: Shingle Cove, Coronation Island, South Orkney Islands, Southern Ocean

Afterward, all that is left is a tattered penguin carcass lying on the dirty snow and a blood-covered skua guarding its kill. The scene is not enjoyable to watch, but I do feel privileged to have witnessed it. It drives home the fact that the dramatic wildlife spectacles we are here to observe are a perpetual and unforgiving struggle for the participants. We leave Shingle Cove about midday, sailing along the South Orkney Islands for a while. Icebergs large and small pass by, set against the snow covered mountains of Coronation Island. One tabular berg that we encounter is measured by the ship’s radar at over 3 miles long. The thing is so large that it takes much longer to reach that expected, distance and size being quite difficult to judge in the clear dry air.

Adelie penguin, adult feeding chick by regurgitating partially digested food into the chick's mouth.  The pink food bolus, probably consisting of krill and marine invertebrates, can be seen being between the adult and chick's beaks, Pygoscelis adeliae, Shingle Cove, Coronation Island, South Orkney Islands, Southern Ocean

Adelie penguin, adult feeding chick by regurgitating partially digested food into the chick’s mouth. The pink food bolus, probably consisting of krill and marine invertebrates, can be seen being between the adult and chick’s beaks.
Image ID: 25008
Species: Adelie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae
Location: Shingle Cove, Coronation Island, South Orkney Islands, Southern Ocean

Next: Pack Ice at the Edge of the Weddell Sea
Previous: Coronation Island, South Orkney Islands
Trip Index: Cheesemans Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
All “Southern Ocean” entries

Cooper Bay, South Georgia Island

Penguin, South Georgia Island, Southern Ocean

Photos of Cooper Bay and Macaroni Penguins, South Georgia Island

This morning we are again presented with difficult weather. Our plans had originally been to visit Gold Harbor or St. Andrews Bay, two of the most notable and popular locations on South Georgia Island, but these locations are exposed to open ocean wave energy and we are thwarted by rough seas. Ultimately will not see either one this trip, but not for lack of trying. The staff makes the decision to try for Cooper Bay. Conditions are marginal, but because they know how disappointed we are at missing Gold Harbor and St. Andrews, the staff and crew work very hard, coping with large swells at the gangway, to ferry those who wish to go ashore. Some choose not to make the landing, staying onboard for the morning. I know that I will probably not see anything this morning that I have not already seen elsewhere on the island, and there is a good chance it will be too snowy and wet for me to do any meaningful photography. I will not pass up this landing, or any landing on this trip, as the exhiliration of simply being ashore in such a wild and remote place is too good to pass up. I love being on this island, and only wish we had more time here. After a bumpy and very wet zodiac ride, we arrive in a pocket cove protected by rocky outcroppings and covered with cobblestones. Wave energy surges into the cove so timing the landing of the zodiac is important, and we quickly scramble out of the inflatable before the next wave arrives. The shore and slopes of Cooper Bay are covered with snow. It is beautiful. It is snowing, a wet and heavy snow, and it is cold.

Snow covers tussock grass and macaroni penguins, above Cooper Bay, Eudyptes chrysolophus

Snow covers tussock grass and macaroni penguins, above Cooper Bay.
Image ID: 24695
Species: Macaroni penguin, Eudyptes chrysolophus
Location: Cooper Bay, South Georgia Island

Macaroni penguin, amid tall tussock grass, Cooper Bay, South Georgia Island, Eudyptes chrysolophus

Macaroni penguin, amid tall tussock grass, Cooper Bay, South Georgia Island.
Image ID: 24733
Species: Macaroni penguin, Eudyptes chrysolophus
Location: Cooper Bay, South Georgia Island

We make a short hike to a bluff-top colony of Macaroni Penguins (Eudyptes chrysolophus). The birds are preening and resting, singly or in pairs. They are nestled in — what else? –waist-high tussac grass. I do not see any nests or chicks and suspect they are hidden by the snow and grass. We are on a shoulder of the island, looking down at the colony below. Beyond the penguins and grass is a rocky promontory covered with many more macaroni penguins that overlooks the sea. M/V Polar Star is anchored a ways out, and periodically a zodiac passes between the landing cove and the big boat. The inflatables sure look small in these conditions. This is a short visit since the weather continues to worsen, and I am thankful we came ashore when we did or we may have had no opportunity to visit here at all today. When I return to the beach to return my gear back into my dry bag, I find a fur seal pup lying atop it. The tiny furball, which looks like a sweet little stuffed animal, may grow into a big gnarly bull one day. Once back onboard, the staff decides to leave South Georgia. It is not clear that we will gain any additional time on the Antarctica Peninsula by leaving South Georgia early, but the weather is such that there is no point is staying the remainder of the day. So off we go, heading south for our long-awaited introduction to Antarctica.

Next: Scotia Sea, En Route to South Orkney Islands
Previous: Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia Island
Trip Index: Cheesemans Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
All “Southern Ocean” entries

Godthul, South Georgia Island

Penguin, South Georgia Island, Southern Ocean

Photos of Godthul and Gentoo Penguins, South Georgia Island

Our plans to visit St. Andrews Bay this morning are scuttled. There is a strong SE wind that is sending big waves onto the beach at St. Andrews making a landing ill-advised. We move north a short ways to Godthul and find the conditions are calm enough to land, so after breakfast we do. Godthul, named “Good Hollow” by the Norwegian whalers who once anchored here, is a well protected bay surrounded on several sides by steep grassy slopes and the omnipresent South Georgia snow-covered mountains. There are kelp beds along some of the shoreline. We land at a derelict old whaling facility. There some small old buildings, in, on and under which fur seals are lounging — they appear to have reclaimed this area now that the whalers who used to maintain a floating processing platform here in the early 1900’s have long since departed.

View of Godthul, from the grassy slopes of South Georgia.  The name Godthul, or "Good Hollow", dates back to Norwegian whalers who used this bay as a anchorage

View of Godthul, from the grassy slopes of South Georgia. The name Godthul, or “Good Hollow”, dates back to Norwegian whalers who used this bay as a anchorage.
Image ID: 24745
Location: Godthul, South Georgia Island

The beach here is narrow and long, littered with decaying old whale bones, and is populated by Southern Elephant Seals (Mirounga leonina), King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) and Antarctic Fur Seals (Arctocephalus gazella). There are enough elephant seals and fur seals to make walking the length of the beach difficult, so after a short while I elect to head up the bluff to see the plateau above. The bluff is choked with tussac grass, and many fur seals, so many that finding a path through the waist-high grass without getting bitten is a challenge. I take it slow, making sure there is no fur seal laying under a tuft of grass where I am about to step. After some time I am through the tussac grass maze and onto the higher ground, which is clear and easy walking. Some Gentoo Penguins (Pygoscelis papua) are descending from the plateau, a clue that there must be a colony above.

Gentoo penguin stealing nesting material, moving it from one nest (hidden behind the clump on the left) to its nest on the right.  Snow falling, Pygoscelis papua, Godthul

Gentoo penguin stealing nesting material, moving it from one nest (hidden behind the clump on the left) to its nest on the right. Snow falling.
Image ID: 24721
Species: Gentoo penguin, Pygoscelis papua
Location: Godthul, South Georgia Island

Gentoo penguin, walking through tall grass, snow falling, Pygoscelis papua, Godthul

Gentoo penguin, walking through tall grass, snow falling.
Image ID: 24722
Species: Gentoo penguin, Pygoscelis papua
Location: Godthul, South Georgia Island

I go higher and as the terrain begins to flatten, sure enough I find the first of several gentoo colonies, set on a spectacular expanse of open land, with broad views of the ocean and bay below and mountains above. The colony is totally exposed to weather but high enough above the beach that there is no risk to the gentoos from aggressive fur seals. I think I can hear the sharp calls of terns echoing off the sides of the mountains, and see some small white birds flittering about in the distance. I walk further until the land crests to a plateau and am pleased to find a lake set below the steep snow-covered flanks of the peaks above. The lake is wide and appears shallow and has several small groups of gentoos nesting around it, and swimming in it. Then gentoos enter the water dirty and emerge clean and white. Beyond the lake the mountains rise steeply, and a waterfall of perhaps 400-500’ drops from the cloud-strewn heights. I settle down beside one gentoo colony for 90 minutes or so, laying in the grass and watching their activities at the nest. There are some courtship displays (I think that’s what I am observing) and there is much nest building and tending. Some penguins walk to and from the lake, while others head off down the hills to the ocean. A few gentoos stay beside their humble nests and then, when noone else is looking, brazenly steal nesting material from their colony-mates and add it to their own nest. I realize this is one of those seminal moments were all have when travelling: here I am, laying down in soaking wet grass, freezing my ass off, thousands of miles from home, trying to make photos with wet gear, laughing at the seemingly comic behaviors of the stout little penguins that are going about their business as if I am not even there. I attempt to videotape the scene but not sure whether I succeeded, the sound of wind and snow is filling the microphone. The weather is now pretty grim again, but not yet harsh enough that we must leave. The wind blows snow sideways one minute, then abates letting the snow fall softly the next. After some time my fingers are too cold to operate my camera. I pack up my gear and head down to the beach, choosing the wrong path several times before finally finding the route that has few enough fur seals that I can get back to the zodiac. I’m the last passenger on board, ready for lunch.

Gentoo penguins, calling, heads raised, Pygoscelis papua, Godthul

Gentoo penguins, calling, heads raised.
Image ID: 24690
Species: Gentoo penguin, Pygoscelis papua
Location: Godthul, South Georgia Island

Next: Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia Island
Previous: Prion Island, South Georgia Island
Trip Index: Cheesemans Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
All “Southern Ocean” entries

Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island

Penguin, South Georgia Island, Southern Ocean

Photos of Salisbury Plain and King Penguins in the Bay of Isles, South Georgia Island

Usually I am somewhat reserved in my written descriptions of places and things. In the following post, I am sure I have failed to communicate the profound depth of emotion that I experienced standing beside the King Penguin colony at Salisbury Plain. At times it was just overwhelming for me, all I could do was stand, watch, listen and soak it in. I tried to burn what I saw into my mind, because I realized at the time that what I was seeing was really special, and I did not want to ever forget it. I’ve seen a lot of fantastic natural history in my 20 years as a professional photographer, so when I say that something is a “must see” spectacle I do not say it lightly. Suffice it to say that Salisbury Plain is one of the must-see wildlife spectacles. I can’t wait to return.

This morning the weather is overcast but calm. The light is beautiful. The water is glass smooth and small waves lap along the edges of the Bay of Isles in which we are anchored. Snow-covered mountains line the horizon in almost every direction. We are offshore the long sand beach that fronts famous Salisbury Plain, site of one of the world’s major King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) colonies. To the left of the plain is Lucas Glacier, to the right Grace Glacier. A quarter of a million king penguins occupy Salisbury Plain, in various stages of nesting, molting, preening and egg laying. There is a constant flow of penguins into and out of the water. A broad plain extends in from the beach on which penguins and fur seals reside. While the fur seals and elephant seals are here in large numbers too, they are simply overwhelmed by the teeming masses of penguins. The king penguin colony itself seems to have fairly distinct margins that can be easily seen from afar, but as one nears the colony the boundary is less easily discerned.

Salisbury Plain on South Georgia Island is home to an immense rookery of King Penguins.  It is a spectacular wildlife location, unequaled in all the world

Salisbury Plain on South Georgia Island is home to an immense rookery of King Penguins. It is a spectacular wildlife location, unequaled in all the world.
Image ID: 24682
Location: Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island

We make a 6am landing and walk across the grassy plain toward the colony. The beach itself is so densely covered with animals that we cannot traverse far on the sand. As we approach the mass of penguins, we take a winding path to avoid the many single and small groups of animals, penguins and seals, that are scattered widely on the fringe of the main colony. There is a deep buzzing sound, separate from the sounds of the individual animals near us. The buzzing is the cacophony of the colony itself, and grows louder as we grow closer. Eventually we find the edge of the colony, and view it from the perimeter, standing in tussoc grass.

King penguin colony. Over 100,000 pairs of king penguins nest at Salisbury Plain, laying eggs in December and February, then alternating roles between foraging for food and caring for the egg or chick, Aptenodytes patagonicus

King penguin colony. Over 100,000 pairs of king penguins nest at Salisbury Plain, laying eggs in December and February, then alternating roles between foraging for food and caring for the egg or chick.
Image ID: 24388
Species: King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus
Location: Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island

Icebreaker M/V Polar Star anchored in the Bay of Isles,offshore of the vast king penguin colony at Salisbury Plain, Aptenodytes patagonicus

Icebreaker M/V Polar Star anchored in the Bay of Isles,offshore of the vast king penguin colony at Salisbury Plain.
Image ID: 24397
Species: King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus
Location: Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island

It is a sea of penguins. Adults sitting on eggs (the eggs are not often visible, tucked below the penguin for protection from the cold), adults and juveniles moving toward to the beach or returning to find their spot in the colony after a foraging session at sea, and “oakum boys”, the yearlings that are covered in a thick, light brown plumage that clearly distinguishes them from the adults. The colony occupies a vast area of the plain and also extends up the shoulder of an adjacent hill. I walk to the back of the hill and hike up to the top. I had read that the climb through tussac grass was treacherous and tiring, but in truth the effort is not difficult and I reach the top in 20 minutes or so. The tussac grass on the steeper areas is actually helpful, providing a handhold for balance.

King penguin colony and the Bay of Isles on the northern coast of South Georgia Island.  Over 100,000 nesting pairs of king penguins reside here.  Dark patches in the colony are groups of juveniles with fluffy brown plumage.  The icebreaker M/V Polar Star lies at anchor, Aptenodytes patagonicus, Salisbury Plain

King penguin colony and the Bay of Isles on the northern coast of South Georgia Island. Over 100,000 nesting pairs of king penguins reside here. Dark patches in the colony are groups of juveniles with fluffy brown plumage. The icebreaker M/V Polar Star lies at anchor.
Image ID: 24402
Species: King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus
Location: Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island

King penguin, mated pair courting, displaying courtship behavior including mutual preening, Aptenodytes patagonicus, Salisbury Plain

King penguin, mated pair courting, displaying courtship behavior including mutual preening.
Image ID: 24438
Species: King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus
Location: Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island

On the summit, the view is astounding. I can see the entire colony from above. While individual penguins can be discerned in the mass, the impression from here is abstract, a canvas of silver, black and white penguins edged with green tussac grass. Veins of brown flow randomly through the expanse – these are oakum boys congregating in groups distinct from the adults. The Polar Star lies at anchor offshore. I shoot some photos and a few videos. It is now about 9am and the wind has started in earnest. I move to a few different vantages atop the hill to see the colony and surrounding bay and mountains from different angles. The wind increases and snow begins to fall. I’m glad I skipped breakfast and made the early landing, since from the whitecaps in the bay it is clear the visit may be terminated early due to the declining weather. I make my way down to the plain and again stop alongside the colony, listening to the buzzing. I’ve taken plenty of photos, and prefer to just stand here and admire the scene.

Oakum boys, juvenile king penguins at Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island.  Named 'oakum boys' by sailors for the resemblance of their brown fluffy plumage to the color of oakum used to caulk timbers on sailing ships, these year-old penguins will soon shed their fluffy brown plumage and adopt the colors of an adult, Aptenodytes patagonicus

Oakum boys, juvenile king penguins at Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island. Named ‘oakum boys’ by sailors for the resemblance of their brown fluffy plumage to the color of oakum used to caulk timbers on sailing ships, these year-old penguins will soon shed their fluffy brown plumage and adopt the colors of an adult.
Image ID: 24405
Species: King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus
Location: Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island

Oakum boys, juvenile king penguins at Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island.  Named 'oakum boys' by sailors for the resemblance of their brown fluffy plumage to the color of oakum used to caulk timbers on sailing ships, these year-old penguins will soon shed their fluffy brown plumage and adopt the colors of an adult, Aptenodytes patagonicus

Oakum boys, juvenile king penguins at Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island. Named ‘oakum boys’ by sailors for the resemblance of their brown fluffy plumage to the color of oakum used to caulk timbers on sailing ships, these year-old penguins will soon shed their fluffy brown plumage and adopt the colors of an adult.
Image ID: 24406
Species: King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus
Location: Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island

Oakum boys and juveniles are curious and often approach within a few feet, standing next to me and looking me over. A couple even give me a soft tap on the leg, flap their wings and cluck softly. I doubt they understand the difficult life that they will undertake soon. I feel priviledged to simply have them appraise me and find me interesting enough to occupy their attention and warrant their approach. By midday it is time to return to the landing. Snow is blowing horizontally and covering my camera to the point I can no longer see through the viewfinder. The staff is challenged to get everyone into zodiacs and through the waves to the boat. It is a wet ride and we take a wave or two over the bow of the small inflatable, but no real danger. Back on board I dry my cameras off and warm up with a hot lunch. It continues to snow, although the wind has lessened. Our afternoon visit to see Wandering Albatross at nearby Prion Island is looking iffy. The serious birders on the trip consider seeing Wanderers a high priority and will be disappointed if we have to scrub it. Perhaps we can go ashore after dinner if the weather improves. All I can say is that the weather here is changeable. We’ll see.

Next: Prion Island, South Georgia Island
Previous: Grytviken, South Georgia Island
Trip Index: Cheesemans Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
All “Southern Ocean” entries

Penguin Encounter, Paulet Island, Antarctic Peninsula

Antarctica, Penguin, Southern Ocean

Update: the cover of Nature’s Best Photography Spring/Summer 2010 issue came from this shot.

OK, I admit it, this post is really just an excuse to share a photo of myself. I get so few photos of me that when I receive one I like, its a big deal.

Photographing Adelie penguins at Paulet Island, Antarctic Peninsula, © Patrick Endres / AlaskaPhotographics.com

Photographing Adelie penguins at Paulet Island, Antarctic Peninsula, © Patrick Endres / AlaskaPhotographics.com

Patrick Endres made this photograph. Patrick, a full-time professional stock photographer and guide and tour leader from Fairbanks, Alaska, was on staff for my recent Cheesemans Antarctica trip. He, along with fellow pro and staff member Hugh Rose, had a few of us out zodiac cruising at Paulet Island in the northern reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula. We were sidled up beside a low, flat ice berg with some Adelie penguins on it when three of the penguins walked across the berg to us and looked at us curiously, as if they wanted to hop into our boat. We scrambled for the widest lenses we had (even 70-200 was too much, the penguins were so close) and snapped off a few photos. It wasn’t the photos but the sponteneity of the moment and the naive inquisitiveness of the Adelies that really made our face-to-face meeting with these little guys special. All of us were laughing and enjoying the moment. Another couple zodiacs came over and had the three Adelies look them over as well. You can see the icebreaker ship M/V Polar Star that was our home for a month, in the background of this photo. That was about two weeks ago. I wish I was still there among the birds and ice. Patrick sent me this photo last night. I love it, it brings back that wonderful afternoon.

Patrick Endres has a great blog, be sure to check it out since he is currently sharing some of his experiences from the Falklands, South Georgia Island and Antarctica. I really do owe Patrick and Hugh and the rest of the Cheeseman’s staff a big “thank you” This is a staff that has the experience in the field, particularly in the Southern Ocean, that enables them to find great wildlife watching and photo experiences for their guests. They worked hard in all kinds of weather and sea conditions to make such experiences happen frequently.

Next: Equipment List for Antarctica, South Georgia and Falklands
Trip Index: Cheesemans Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
All “Southern Ocean” entries