Thursday, April 07, 2005

How do penguins get around?

Why, penguin super highways, of course:



This rookery is in Neko Harbor and there are lots of glaciers ringing the harbor which calve quite frequently. This sends waves up the beach, washing out anything that's there. The Chinstraps lay their eggs further up on the rocks and find the easiest way up and down. They all use the same paths - which are about as wide as a penguin body. It was really funny to watch them waddling along and come chest to chest with someone else going the opposite direction. They'd hop from one foot to the other until one of them decided to hop to the side and they could continue on their way.

This is Paradise Bay:



Drop. Dead. Gorgeous. The water was like glass and it was breathtaking to see the mountains and glaciers reflected in it. Every now and again, we'd hear the CRACK of a glacier calving and everyone's head would swivel looking for the ice and snow to fall into the water. I felt like we could fall right off the edge of the earth if we just kept going.

We got up close to some of these:



After a while, I had to stop taking pictures of ice bergs. They're all different - different colors (who knew there were so many shades of white and blue?), different shapes...and every single one beautiful. I expected it to be very quiet in this bay - it's not. Between the Blue-eyed Shags and the calving glaciers, there are the icebergs. When you get up close to an iceberg - all you can hear is the water dripping. It was a little cloudy on this day, but it doesn't take much of a rise in temperature to set the ice melting. There's so much water dripping into the bay, it sounds like wind chimes.

Here's a friend of mine doing a little sun bathing:



This is a Leopard Seal. He (I really don't know the gender, but all these seals look like males to me - something about the sinister grin they have I think) was very aware that we were around his berg, but didn't seem to mind. He let us take pictures and lifted up his head every now and again. These animals get up to somewhere around 11 feet long and they love penguins (which are practically chickens). That's about as close as I ever want to get to one of them.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

CJ, Sarah Peasley told me about your blog tonight and that you were posting about your trip to Antarctica. My son is there right now, at McMurdo Station, for the rest of their winter. I've been scarfing up everything I can find to help make his environment more real to me. Thanks for posting all the pictures; they're great!
Sharon (Knitknacks)
http://sharonstuff.typepad.com/knitknacks/