Monthly Archives: January 2017

culinary pleasures on board

You would think making a expedition style journey to one of the remotest places on earth would be basic, but we cruised the Antarctics in 5 star comfort. A French ship, with French cooks, two gorgeous restaurants, fine dining twice a day every day. Yes, life really sucks 😉

other birdies

Besides penguins there were lots of other birds in Antarctica. Here’s a summery of some other birdies we came across. The first one is a tern obviously, but the Antarctic species (Antarctische stern).

This was a beautiful one, called snow petrel (Sneeuwstormvogel). The only time I got to see one was from the ship, during a snow storm.

Gulls of course, but I really don’t know what kind…

Skua or giant skua, I forgot (Jager of Grote jager)

And this last guy is a Petrel (stormvogel, uit de orde van buissnaveligen), which I found the least attractive bird over there.

chinstraps (2)

The chinstrap lying down on a stone in colony finally got up and stretched.

Eating snow, perhaps to get some water?

The rocks in the rookeries are very steep and slippery.

Black and white conversions.

chinstraps (1)

The last landing we made was on Half Moon Island, breeding ground to many chinstrap penguins.
Wow, what a stunning last landing this was. Lots of beautiful chinstraps and a lot of snow.

Courting behavior.

landscapes

Stunning sceneries while sailing from Deception Island to Half Moon Island.

I took this photo because I was attracted to the red color of the rocks. It was not until I was at home, looking at it on a large screen, I noticed there were people in red coats looking at a penguin colony on the right side of the mountain.

 

 

The last photo is an iPhone shot of Half Moon Island, our very last landing.

esperanza

The only time we actually set foot on the Antarctic mainland was at Esperanza Research Station, which is in fact an Argentian claim of a piece of the cake. I did not care to have a look inside the buildings, so I asked one of the members of our expedition team if I could make some photos of the gentoo penguins around the settlement instead. He said he did not want to go inside either as he had heard the story a dozen times already and together we walked to the gentoo breeding colony.

In the first two photos you see a gentoo male bringing a stone to the nest. In the third they are courting and because the female is standing there’s an egg visible in the nest.

gentoos at whalers bay

Luckily for me there were some Gentoo penguins on the beach of Whalers Bay. It’s difficult to be sad when you see penguins. In the background is our ship.

The last photo is an iPhone shot. It’s incredible what you can do with a smartphone nowadays.

weddell seal

In Antarctica the only mammals on land are different kinds of seals, like this Weddell seal we encountered during a zodiac tour.

I tried different kinds of post-processing and crops. The third photo is a 100% crop.

leopard seal eating adélie

During our first zodiac tour in Antarctica we came across this gruesome scene: a Leopard seal had just caught an Adélie penguin.

When hunting penguins, the Leopard seal patrols the waters near the edges of the ice, almost completely submerged, waiting for the birds to enter the ocean.

It kills the swimming bird by grabbing the feet, then shaking the penguin vigorously and beating its body against the surface of the water repeatedly until the penguin is dead. We saw all of this happening from our zodiacs, it took about 10 to 15 minutes for the poor Adélie to die.

What you see in the first two shots is the decapitated head of the Adélie penguin in the mouth of the Leopard seal. In the last two photos the remains of the penguin body are gobbled in.

Prehistoric creature.

will it be safe?

An Adélie penguin looking for a safe place to dive in.

You can see the Adélie searching for a safe spot and in the next blog you can see why.

When there’s so much drifting ice in the water it’s easy for predators to hide underneath and wait for their prey to come down.

Finally this Adélie carefully slides into the water.

I hope it had a safe swim!