Day 5 in Antarctica was the Most Exciting Yet!

gentoo, penguins, antarctica

Part of the spine of a Blue Whale.


antarctica, Blue whale, leopard seals, Lindblad

This young man was over 6 feet tall, just to give perspective.

Yes, day 5 was the most exciting yet! On the fifth morning we visited Port Lockroy, used as an anchorage by whalers and known as secret Base A as the British used it to monitor German shipping movements during WWII.  Operation Tabarin, named for a famous Paris nightclub, for reasons I don’t really know. Maybe the group who named it loved the nightclub?  The “base” is now a museum, and four people reside there for the four months of summer. The museum was interesting, and the store was a pretty standard souvenir store, but the two amazing reasons to stop here are the whale bones, and the Gentoo Penguin colonies.

antarctica, Blue whale, leopard seals, Lindblad

Not to mention a great view!

Whaling was one of the main reasons countries sent expeditions to the Southern Ocean, and the remnants of this cruel practice are very evident. The bones are bigger than one can imagine…we saw Blue Whale bones and were just stunned into silence. Did you know Japan still hunts in this ocean? They hunt Minke Whales, who are very endangered, and they say it is for “scientific research”. Bullshit, of course. An International Court of Justice ordered Japan to stop the practice of hunting whales, and they stopped for one year. Japan is back at it. (Sea Shepherd is an organization trying to stop it.) I want to stress that whales are very, very intelligent mammals with languages and social interactions. Some whale groups have culture, it is not only humans who transmit norms and behaviors and language. Having a social culture is a sign of extremely high intelligence and depth of emotion. Hunting these animals is criminal.

Gentoo Penguins have a lot of personality and since summer is nesting season, there are a lot of them! Moms, Dads, chicks and fledglings are everywhere. Note the nests of stone, built by the dad. If his nest isn’t pretty awesome, a female won’t want to mate with him. Male penguins have to work hard, but sometimes they cheat, taking stones from another nest! Then the squawking begins!

antarctica, Blue whale, leopard seals, Lindblad, gentoos

Gentoos are good parents.

gentoos, penguins, antarctica

They are adorable with their chicks.

gentoo, penguins, antarctica

Check out all the beautiful pebbles!

gentoo, penguins, antarctica

Don’t come near my nest!

The perfect ending to a perfect day was kayaking with my friend Annie, watching penguins “porpoising” and seeing gigantic leopard seals.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Day 5!



penguins, antarctica, lindblad, gentoos, leopard seals

Better stay away from the nest, dude!


penguins, antarctica, lindblad, gentoos, leopard seals

Adorable in the tuxedo!

penguins, antarctica, lindblad, gentoos, leopard seals

Two fledglings beak to beak!

gentoos, penguins, antarctica

Little ones trying to get comfy

gentoos, penguins, antarctica

Rocks can make perfect pillows!

penguins, antarctica, lindblad, gentoos, leopard seals

I LOVE this photo. I found their feet to be absolutely fascinating!

antarctica, penguins, gentoos, kayaking, whales

Kayaking was so much fun! These penguins hopping in and out of the water are the most adorable sight ever!





Get ‘Travels with Tam’ Updates

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About the Author ()

I am an avid scuba diver, underwater photographer, amateur historian; interested in all people and cultures. For me, the unexpected is usually the norm! My motto? I am an Empty Nester who likes to Renew, Revamp, and Reinvent Life! Contact me at

Comments (10)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Priya says:

    Those penguins and their chicks are adorable.. worth enduring the cold!

  2. It looks amazing and fun. Another friend went there and did a slideshow for LA travelers. I love all the penguins!
    Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski recently posted…Blackberry Baked Oatmeal by the Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry CommissionMy Profile

  3. Ellen Dolgen says:

    Those pictures are incredible. Clearly, it was a very fancy trip with all of those tuxedos! I love penguins………I mean who doesn’t?! Thanks for sharing your great trip with us.

  4. As usual your photos are amazing. I am definitely buying your coffee table book, when you decide to do one or 5:)
    What a shame about the whales, so sad.

  5. The view. OMG, the view. Imagine looking out the window at these cute little critters!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge