We've arrived in Antarctica! We are in the South Shetland Islands on Penguin Island. Guess what we'll see there?

It's a spectacular day. Sunny, light winds, 36 degrees. We've seen a humpback and a minke whale along the way. We're surrounded by sea ice and the captain has to carefully navigate around it.  The first group disembarks at 3 pm.  Jane and I disembark at 5 with our group.  There's a steep climb up 850 feet which I would do but I was told it's slippery coming down (and you can only come down the way you go up.)  I might just opt to walk around the island to see the Chinstrap and Adelie penguins.  Hope the sunshine and warmth hold out for us.

On the way, we spotted a Humpback and a Minke whale.


Sea ice and icebergs all around


We continue to be followed by Cape Petrels and Antarctic Petrels (the ones with only white and no black on their bellies.)


Jane has her usual 3 desserts.

We left the boat at 5 pm.  We had a choice of climbing a big hill and then going to see the penguin rookery or just walking to see the penguins.  After speaking to some of the guests coming back, I decided to spend some time at the penguin rookery and forgo the hike.  There were Adelies, Gentoos and Chinstrap penguins.

The weather not only held out, but got even more clear and warm.  I didn't need gloves while on shore.  The landing was on large, round rocks.  A bit tricky, but we had help of the naturalist team.  I walked to the rookerie and there, off the shore, was a leopard seal eating his fifth penguin. At that point, we weren't sure he was still hungry or just providing snacks for the skua who were flying overhead.  We walked over rock and slushy snow.  I brought my trekking poles and it made the walk easier.  After getting to the rookery, I gave Jane one of my trekking poles.  We'll take them ashore next time (each with our own pair.)  On the way back in the zodiac, we were treated to stories about groups who became stranded on this island for 18 hours because of a sudden shift in weather.  Apparently, on that same expedition, one of the zodiacs flipped and several guests got soaked through. After everyone else shared clothes,  the soaked guests were clothed again.  The zodiacs were brought on shore and flipped upside down and set up as temporary shelters with poles for support.  (And here I was feeling so safe and secure!) The staff person told us that there are all kinds of drills that they go through to train for just such events and there is an extra zodiac left close to shore with emergency supplies. The weather here is so unpredictable.

 Isn't this Chinstrap so pretty? It's feathers look like fur!


Gentoos amoung the Chinstraps


It's a little tricky  navigating this slush and I live here!


Chinstrap and her chick


Adelie Penguins have all black heads and white around the eye.


Yuch! I'm heading down for a bath!!!

© Bts arbara Sevde 2012