Monday, February 6, 2012

Yankee Harbour, South Shetland Islands

One of my favorite images from Yankee Harbour was a close-up I took of this little chinstrap penguin.
Krill.  It's what's for supper.
Check out the rearward pointing spines on it's palate and tongue.  A krill or small fish would have little chance for escape, once in this bird's beak.

A brief hike up the hill yielded great views chinstrap penguins, climbing back up the snowbanks after feeding in the ocean waters. The bluebird in the foreground, has just fed (on the boat) is really enjoying the Antarctic sun!

Success!  The penguins have made it up the snowbank and have found rocky nest nirvana.

We discovered this kelp gull and it's chick on our way toward the crest of the island.  How long can you stand on one foot with hungry kids around?
Kelp gull and chick
After taking a couple of pics of the kelp gull family, mainly because I like taking pictures, we quietly crunched our way, Ever Onward!, through the snow (can you quietly do that?) to the top of the island for great southern vistas across Bransfield Strait.
Berg and bergy-bits in Bransfield Strait

The appropriate time to return to the zodiacs for the trip back to the ship can be determined by two things:
1)  The zodiac scheduled departure.  Be there... or be cold.  Possibly for several weeks, until the next boat arrives.
2)  The weather.  Our naturalists, zodiac drivers, and, well, Winnie and I.  We always seemed to be keeping one wary eye on the weather.  It's just what we do.  Don't know where it comes from... perhaps some innate love of meteorology?  Nyaah.  Survival.  That would be a good bet.

Sunny, blue and beautiful one moment.  Next moment, we notice that the winds at the top of the surrounding peaks are picking up.

Time to head back to the Sea Spirit.

Coincidental?  Lucky?  It seems that the zodiac schedule back to the boat meshed perfectly with Mother Nature's schedule.

Time to head back.  Have some supper.  Wander into the bar in your sox and debrief the day's events over a tumbler of nice scotch.

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