Antarctica Part 13: When 150,000 = 600,000 or something like that [very pic intensive]

31 January…Cruising Day 9…Brown Bluff, Antarctic Sound; Paulet Island, Weddell Sea

We crested the top of the Antarctica peninsula and have come down on the north-eastern side to Brown Bluff for our first adventure of the day and landing.

We did a landing on Brown Bluff…which was a fantastic visual of browns, reds and white.

Primary penguin inhabitants of this location were Adelie with some Gentoo in the mix.

Home with a view
A Gentoo photobombing the Adelie ‘march of the penguins’ tryout.
Ooomph! | Reminds me of a cat…’you didn’t see me do that’.
Adelie with a really bad hair day.  Actually, it’s just the process of molting.
Expedition staffer hanging with the Gentoo chicks.  I think this is Tara Mulvany/NZ who has an incredible story.

Tara Mulvany, of New Zealand, was an expedition staffer assigned to work with the kayakers.  You can read why here and here.  But first, you have to finish looking at my pretty pictures.  *grin*

These little guys were probably my most favorite of all the chicks that I photographed…so because of that, you have to suffer through a few more pics than usual.

Bad boy of the block.
‘I’m comin’ through.’
‘I captured the flag!’  |  These little guys were right at my feet.  So close that I couldn’t use my Pentax (a lens change thing) and had to resort to my phone camera, a Lumia 925.

I could have spent more time here with the chicks but I didn’t relish swimming to the next stop so I participated in the process.  After loading up, we headed to Paulet Island…

On the way, blocky icebergs commanded a few pictures…

The black patterning is caused by accumulated sediment and minerals acquired during formation.  Now exposed as the ice melts.

These little guys….

…were hitching a ride on this…

The penguins were riding on the portion that extends out on the lower left of the berg.

Arriving at Paulet Island we were greeted by approximately 150,000 mating pairs of Adelie = 300,000 penguins + two eggs each* = the potential of 600,000 penguins.   *Even though a majority of may eggs hatch, the mortality of the chicks to predators and other acts-of-nature will reduce the numbers.

The beige/light brown portions in this picture (center and lower right) are covered with penguins.
A slightly enlarged area from the above picture in which you can see the individual penguins.
As this was a zodiac cruise, the only people going ashore was Cheli and the researchers.

This zodiac group actually got stuck for a little bit.  The ice closed in around them faster than was anticipated.  A lot of maneuvering was required to exit without damaging the zodiac and motor.

Looking out from the island, we saw some beautiful ice….

Looking at the front side….
…this little guy was hiding out on the back side.

All of these greens and blues were real.
Tabular ice

 

And so the excursion to Paulet comes to an end.

After the cruise-out as dusk was falling, we passed by some dramatic blocky icebergs….

Fast forward to after dinner….and I’ve just shut the door to my cabin getting ready to call it a day, Susan of RusSus Duo comes knocking on the door, telling me to grab my camera and head outside.  It was around 10:00pm.

This was the cherry on top….the sky was on fire! Thank you Susan for the heads-up….

So ended another great day.  We have one more full day of excursion before we head back across the Drake.

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