This blog is posted mostly everyday when we take a break from our usual retired Life as former full-time RVer's and travel overseas.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Penguins Galore - Nov. 20, 2019

At this morning's briefing the ships expedition leader said, "Today you will experience the real Antarctica." We did, and the experience was awesome.

Why is it that the brochures the different companies put out never show the rooms looking like this, but rather always pristine and perfect. Sometimes it's easier just to pile all those layers of close in the chair Linda put them back in the different locations, just to have to get them out again in a few hours. And just for the record what you see is my piles except for the two gray socks on the footstool which belong to Ms. Puts Things Away.

A slight foretaste of what was to come today.

Raise the camera up to look over the balcony and words couldn't begin to describe the sight, sounds and smell that this photo tries unsuccessfully to portray.

We are always called by groups when departing the ship. There are four main groups: seals, penguins, petrels and albatrosses. Each of those are broken down into three species of each type for a total of 12 groups. The name of our group is Light Mantled Sooty Albatross. It was interesting that even though we had no idea of what the four main groups were before we left on the trip Linda had said she wanted to be in the albatross group and wouldn't you know it, that's where we ended up.

It was a very cold and windy day, meaning everyone was well bundled up. Before they called the groups they even took the unusual step of stating that because of the conditions you would probably want to have more layers than usual on.

Linda has already decided that the next time we do something like this, most likely up towards Greenland and the Arctic, she will have much better protection for her face as her cheeks get extremely cold.

We were certainly going to be in the snow today.

Approaching the landing spot.

I've slightly blurred this photo to protect the identity of the person struggling to exit the zodiac. It took several pulls and pushes to move the unnamed person out of the zodiac. I will say that later the unnamed person had a good time laughing and recounting her struggles. Nice Bob.

There are always survival supplies at the landing site in case something would happen with the weather that would force those ashore to remain for a period of time.

Words can't describe it, the photo barely does it justice. It was one of those times you really had to be there. Between the sound of the wind howling and the constant noise from the penguins it was almost surreal.

Everywhere you looked there were penguins even on top of the hills.

Even our selfie of the day included penguins. We were told there are nearly 5000 pairs nesting in this immediate area.

They are constantly walking back and forth between sites at all you had to do was just stand still and one would walk near you, or I should say a number of penguins would walk near you.

These are all Gentoo Penguins.

My photos don't do a good job of showing the blowing swirling snow better as you can tell any of the penguins were hunkered down against the blasts.

This one walked up to me to say hi.

This is a penguin nest with a egg.

As we watched the two penguins swapped places. You can see the snow on the one on the left which had been covering the egg. The other penguin has now moved into place but unfortunately it's partially hidden and you can't see it putting the egg up on its feet to keep it warm. Who thinks of taking photos when you're standing 5 feet away watching something like this take place that you've only ever seen on television documentaries.

The most important rule that we are given is, 'Wildlife always has the right away.'


Going through our photos I'm always amazed at the number of ones I see that the thought comes to mind, This could be a postcard.

The launch area.

In the late afternoon we were given an opportunity to go "cruising". The cold and wind was as bad as it was in the morning so Linda opted to stay on board ship. This was the zodiac I was on heading out from the ship.

Everyone was really bundled up. During the trip the water was splashing up onto us and our backs were completely covered with ice. You would've thought I'd been smart enough to take a photo of the people next to me showing the ice on them. Of course there was also water splashing on the cameras and I just didn't think of taking the photo at that time. Then before we got off the zodiac everyone was brushing the ice off everyone else. On the other hand, I may not have any photos, but I was actually there taking part in all that went on.

I have to say that Antarctica is far more than just pictures of snow and ice, it's a feeling, and you have to be there to actually experience it. Too many readers that are even remotely thinking about going to Antarctica all I can say is JUST DO IT!!! I'll let the rest of today's photos just speak for themselves.

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