Antarctica Part 9: Dynamic and Serene [pic intensive]

In the evening every man looks the same. Like penguins. ~Roberto Cavalli

27 January…Cruising Day 5  Petermann Island, Pleneau Bay and Island

Busy, busy, busy….today we stepped on a mini-terra firma but first…we did a zodiac cruise in the bay around Petermann Island and the kayaking group got to do their thing.  The sky and lighting was very dynamic….flat when we started out and then fantastically beautiful in the afternoon.

View from the zodiac….

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The kayak group having fun!

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We saw some seals up close….

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Crabeater Seals

….and closer.

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And Gentoo penguins!

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What!?!  I can’t fly?

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And then we went ashore…our first landing of the day:

Moody lighting when we landed….

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Twenty minutes later….blue sky…brighter sun.

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The flags were a boundary for us invading but caring humans.  Penguins could go where ever they wanted of course; we had delineated boundaries which some in their enthusiasm and/or idiocy managed to cross.  Generally a passenger would only get one warning.  The second incident had the person heading back to the boat…rightfully so.  If one can’t play by the rules (especially in this case), game over.  Paint inside the lines…you had fun.  Rules are taken very seriously everywhere, all the time.
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Wheeee!

We were able to get really close to Adelie and Gentoos:

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Gentoo chicks.  Penguins generally lay two eggs with both hatching.  This ensures there is at least one chick surviving through the early stages.
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Older Adelie chicks.  ‘What! You wanted pizza?’
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Adelie and Gentoo adults warding off an Adelie chick that didn’t belong in that spot.

And the researchers aka the penguin-counters got to do their thing…

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Cameras are used to help count and monitor the colony.

After Petermann Island, we loaded up and headed to Pleneau Bay and Island…home to Gentoo penguins. This stop was nice because of its mix of terrain…snow, rocks, water and incredible ice formations.  And it was the place of choice…if the weather permitted….for overnight camping on the island.  I didn’t get pics of my own of the camping as Mr. TxP and I did not participate.  I was game but Mr. TxP did not relish having to crawl out of his sleeping bag to go to the loo especially when he had a nice warm, much more comfortable cabin in which to sleep.  Also, there was an extra fee to self-inflict this torture so there was that.  If you would like to read more about this camping experience, you can read here and here.

So another zodiac cruise was in order….with ahh..mazing ice forms….

First though…rocks!

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Antarctic Cormorant

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I called this iceberg ‘the brain’.
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These ice elements were pretty large.  I think the smallest piece was the size of a standard refrigerator.

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A ‘melt pond’ formed in sea ice.
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This was a very odd sight.  A rock sitting (or embedded) on a piece of sea ice.  Probably deposited there from an earlier time in history, now seeing the light of day.  Waxing philosophical, this little blob of ice will probably melt, the rock will fall to the bottom, to maybe start its millennium-long journey once again.  Or, it might have a shorter ride if its little ice skateboard gets stuck to a bigger piece of ice, which gets trapped by fast ice, which…..

And wildlife viewing….

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Gentoos not synchronized swimming.  No Olympics for them!

 

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Doing what seals do….sleep and eat.
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‘Joe, it’s the yellow paparazzi!’  ‘Uh, Frank, I think it’s more an orange color.’

After a nice zodiac cruise, it was time for a shore excursion.

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At the end of the day….
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…in this calm, serene setting, the crazy humans made camp and sleep beneath the stars.

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