On our 3rd day, our 2nd on land, we actually had the thrill of seeing an Emperor Penguin! It is a very unusual sighting, because Emperors mate during the dead of winter (I think it may be safe to say that Emperor Penguins have the worst existence of any bird on earth) and this was Antarctic summer. There he or she was, hanging out with Adelie penguins on ice!
Emperor Penguins are the largest of all penguins, reaching heights of 48 inches, and can weigh up to 99 pounds! They are the only penguins to mate during the dark winter, and they will trek 30 to 75 miles to get to the breeding grounds. They are absolutely majestic, and it was fascinating to watch both of them. We sighted them separately, they are loners when not nesting and breeding. They can dive for 18 minutes, a very long time. Then, there are the seals!
Every day on the Lindblad NatGeo Explorer was an adventure. In addition to the sightings, landings, and zodiac rides, the scientists gave presentations in their areas of expertise: hydrology, climate change, Southern Ocean whales, Killer Whale species, photography…it was such a great learning experience. Every moment was a realization that we must protect our planet, our currents, our animals, and our pristine environments. No one should ever be able to drill, colonize or in any way commercialize this magnificent continent.
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