The Dragon Wagon

The Dragon Wagon
The landscaping changes often.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Antarctic Adventure - Day 9 (very long post)

On the morning of November 15th, we reached South Georgia Island.

Our first stop was to visit Elsehul Bay.
After lunch we moved on to nearby Right Whale Bay.

"Porpoising" Gentoo Penguins
Porpoising allows rapidly swimming penguins to inhale.

We often encountered large flocks of Pintado Petrels on the surface of protected waters.

Grey-headed Albatross
Like the Black-browed Albatross, they also have wingspans of about seven feet.

Grey-headed Albatross nesting colony in tussac grass at the tops of the cliffs

Light-mantled Sooty Albatross

Antarctic Terns

Macaroni Penguin colony on a hillside

Macaroni Penguins dealing with an obstacle along their "highway"

King Penguins and Antarctic Fur Seals ignore each other on the beaches.

By the time of our arrival, the Southern Elephant Seals had pretty much finished their birthing and mating, but the Antarctic Fur Seal males were just starting to establish their beach territories.

Gentoo Penguin obviously about to turn left!

King and Gentoo Penguins heading out to feed

King Penguins

Part of just one of the King Penguin colonies on South Georgia Island

The brown ones are immature King Penguins called "Oakum Boys".  This nickname was given by sailors because their color reminded them of the oakum fibers used for caulking ships.

The rules did not allow us to approach wildlife closer than five meters, but if the wildlife chose to approach us, that was okay.

Each year the King Penguins have to endure a month long molt to replace their feathers.  During this time they cannot swim and feed, so must sit around and fast, losing a significant part of their body mass.

Fur Seal skull

Remnant from the whaling industry

Curious Fur Seal

Fully equipped National Geographic photographer Ralph Lee Hopkins has chosen his preferred camera for the shot.

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