Monthly Archives: February 2012

Penguins are very curious.  Here a Gentoo penguin checks out my boots as I sit taking in my surroundings.      (Picture taken January 20, 2012)

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On the afternoon of January 20, 2012, (Brown Bluff) we saw Gentoo chicks nearly full grown showing the fuzzy outlines of their adult form gathering together in what is known as a crèche.  This happens when the chicks are 3 to 4 weeks and are big enough to defend themselves.  Also, at this stage both parents must forage for food at the same time due to the increasing quantities of food the chicks require at this age.

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Though it was a cloudy morning (January 21, 2012), as we got ready to go ashore on Cuverille Island, I still think this is one of my favorite pictures depicting my time in Antarctica (zodiac, penguin, iceberg and red parka).  Cuverville Island was first sighted (discovered) by the members of the 1897 – 99 Belgian Antarctica Expedition led by Adrien de Gerlache.

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A little break from my Antarctica pictures … since I have been home I have been back in the yard splitting wood … I think it is harder on the tools I use than on me.

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You can only imagine how great Captain Leif Skog is being able to maneuver our ship so close to shore always giving us up close and personal views.  (Photo taken early afternoon on January 23, 2012)

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Weather Changes

 On January 20, 2012 we enjoyed a late afternoon zodiac ride under beautiful blue skies and witnessed calving (pieces of ice fall from glaciers or icebergs into the sea).

Shortly after we witnessed the calving the winds began to pick up and the Expedition Leader put out a call over the radio to all naturalists that everyone was to return to the ship immediately.  In less than 15 minutes all passengers (those on shore and out in zodiacs) were back on board, the captain had the anchor up and we were safely away from the shore … this is a real tribute to the team work of the staff and crew.

Katabatic winds  (gravity driven winds caused by the movement of dense, cold air down slopes from the polar plateau can reach hurricane force) were developing and the calm sea we went out on earlier in the day was now very intense (the swells that evening/night were 10 to 18 feet).

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Gentoo chick

And you thought your day was tough

Gentoo chick, afternoon of January 20, 2012, at Brown Bluff.

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Rump-legged Penguins

Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins (sometimes called the brush-tailed penguins).

 Chipstrap penguin with chick (January 19, 2012 on Half Moon Island).

Height: 23 inches

Weight: 8.3 pounds

Diet: krill, fish

Diving: maximum depth 337 feet

Chinstrap penguins get their name from the obvious line of black feathers that crosses under their white chins like a strap of a hat.  Chinstraps are known to be a feisty species and are usually quite noisy.

Adelie penguin and chick (morning of January 20, 2012 on Paulet Island ).

Height: 23 inches

Weight: 11 pounds

Diet: krill, squid

Diving: maximum depth 560 feet

Adelie penguins were often used as food for explorers in the early 20th century.  During the incubation phase Adelie penguins have been known to travel up to 62 miles to feed.

Gentoo penguin and chick (afternoon of January 20, 2012 p.m. at Brown Bluff ).

Height: 24 inches

Weight: 13 pounds

Diet: fish, krill

Diving: maximum depth 495 feet

It is unclear why this penguin is called ‘gentoo’ and is considered among the least aggressive penguin, not nearly as noisy as the chinstrap or Adelie penguins.

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Pleneau Island on the morning of January 23, 2012.

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On the afternoon of January 21, 2012 our ship anchored in Neko Harbor for another landing where many of us opted to hike virtually straight up for a beautiful view overlooking the bay.

 Deep crevasses were prominent from our vantage point and …

thundering avalanches tumbled down leaving clouds of snow and ice particles across the bay.

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