A spectacular morning in Charlotte Bay

When we awoke this morning, we were already deep in a spectacular bay surrounded by high peaks and glaciers.  Seals and penguins could be seen on ice floes, and a report of Humpback and Minke whales (which I didn't see.)  Jane and I were in the first group out on a zodiac tour at 9 am.  What a show.  We saw a group of Humpback whales which seemed to enjoy putting on a show for us!  There was a Crabeater seal ( named because, based on their red colored poop, it was thought that this seal eats crabs. Turns out they feed exclusively on krill.)   There was a mini Gentoo penguin colony on an ice floe.  Got some really cute pictures of them.  

The sky was partly sunny, partly overcast. The temperature was 32 degrees. No wind.  Perfect for our outing.

Crabeater seal2

Crabeater seal on the ice.


Gentoos just hanging out on the ice


What's with all these strange large red birds? What should we do?


That one's really scary. 


They're too weird. Let's get out of here!


The world of black and white is just pure drama!

And that was just the morning.  Another whole adventure awaits us this afternoon on Cuverville Island.

Cuverville Island offered a steep climb up snow and ice - so treacherous that no one made it all the way up.  There was a gentler walk along the shore which was also a challenge because it was very rocky with streams of penguin poop, called guano.  We saw an amazing colony of Gentoos nesting. We saw some nursing eggs, just hatched chicks and chicks a couple of days old.  Of course there were the mean Skuas wating to snatch a chick or two for lunch.  The penguins are totally helpless. They can sit on their chicks and stay close together to try to protect them, but they truly have no other defenses.  The Skua worked in a team of two. One distracting and one grabbing.  So sad.  Most of the penguins had 2 chicks.  We also witnessed "changing of the guard" when one penguin returns from a fishing expedition and takes over parenting duties.  It was an amazing microcosm of penguin life that we witnessed in ½ hour's time.  I returned to the zodiac for a brief tour on the way back to the ship.  Patri (Patricia) is one of the naturalists and is one of the more engaging ones who goes to great pains to explain everything you see.  It really makes a difference.


Hi Mom!


These penguins walk with their wings outstretched and slightly back.


Gentoos nest on piles of rocks.  Notice that what looks like a white patch over their eye is really a headband of white. It's hard to see unless you blow up the picture, but the baby is sitting in an egg that did not hatch very long ago. Gentoos usually lay 2 eggs, so either one hasn't hatched yet, or it was stolen by a Skua.

© Bts arbara Sevde 2012