Wednesday, February 15, 2012

South America and Antarctica 17 - More Penguins

Further along the edge of the ice flow, we saw an Adelie penguin walk right up to the edge of the water and dive in.  He never paused at the edge of the ice.  I expected him to pause, and so wasn't ready with my camera when he dove in.

Moments later, two more came wandering across the ice.  This time, I was ready.

Here, the first one prepares to dive in the water.

My telephoto lens combined with my position on the bow of the Zodiac allowed me to grab this shot of him the instant before he hit the water.

Then the second one took his turn and prepared to dive.

Though as you can see, he sort of belly flopped in instead of diving.

Another Zodiac from our ship explores the ice flows.

Off in the distance we spotted two more seals.  Notice again, just how blue the ice is under the water.  Notice, too, that only a small portion of the ice slab is above the water line.

Charlie Wheatley, our Zodiac driver for this outing, and a very knowledgeable marine biologist in his own right, brought us closer.

Charlie knows all of the different kinds of seals by sight.  He told us what kind these were but it didn't stick.  I was stuck back at wow, more seals, look at the size of these

Notice all the different variations of how ice floats on the water here.  We saw everything during our 90 minute excursion, from huge icebergs, to crushed ice, and all sizes in between.

Here are a a couple more Adelie penguin shots from our first excursion. I included this frame to give you an idea of the magnitude of this particular ice flow.  It easily encompassed an area of several square miles.

 Penguins are really fun to watch and be around.  Fearless around humans, they seem to note us with a benign sense of curiosity when they encounter us, but mostly they ignore us and go about their business.

Turns out I needn't have worried about losing a chance to get more penguin pictures.  That afternoon, our ship moored just off Paulet Island, home to 100,000 or more pairs of breeding Adelie Penguins.  Here is a shot with my telephoto from the ship as we were waiting to board our Zodiacs for the trip ashore.  All those black and white dots are penguins.

Continue on to Post 18: Paulet Island, by clicking here


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