Antarctic Fox
The log of Rachel and Kevin Fox's trip to the Antarctic Peninsula in the Summer of 2008-9
Day 4: Icy Penguins
December 29 - Lemaire Channel, Petermann Island, and Port Circumcision on the Antarctic Peninsula

We stayed up swapping stories with the folks from Palmer Station until after midnight, and we treated ourselves by sleeping in a bit later than usual. With heavy drapes over the windows to block out the midnight sun it can be hard to keep your internal clock on track, and so more often than not the day starts with Tim's 'Bing Bong' PA announcement, rallying the troops and telling us what's in store for the day ahead, which by the way is already well underway and we'll be meeting, geared-up, in the mud room.

But before we would leave for Port Circumcision, we should grab our cameras and head to the bow to witness our passage through the Lemaire Channel, a berg-riddled passage less than a mile wide, named for an intrepid explorer who gained fame for his explorations of the Congo and had set neither foot nor sail in the Antarctic.

Glass Hills

Glass Hills - We passed through the amazingly beautiful Lemaire channel on the morning of December 30th and were met with high cliffs, glaciers and snow pack and beautiful clear, still waters. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Star Berg

Star Berg - A beautiful iceberg that seems to have a bit of a star shape. The water is so clear here on the Lemaire channel that you can see the rest of the star underwater! - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Fallen

Fallen - On one of the cliffs of the Lemaire channel you can see where the ice has broken off of this cliff. Looking up at places where ice has broken this way is scary and lets you feel just how small you are. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Ice Beard

Ice Beard - Iceberg in the Lemaire Channel - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Resting Clouds

Resting Clouds - The low morning clouds are resting on the edge of this cliff of the Lemaire channel. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Zork

Zork - You see three tunnels, all alike. Where do you go? - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Erosion

Erosion - You never know how an iceberg will erode as it turns and melts and turns again. This one is like Goldilocks! - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Narnia

Narnia - I can imagine the frigid wonderland through the ice tunnel... - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Fairy Tale of Ice

Fairy Tale of Ice - The Lemaire Channel. “Glittering white, shining blue, raven black, in the light of the sun the land looks like a fairy tale. Pinnacle after pinnacle, peak after peak, crevasses, wild as any land on our globe, it lies unseen and untrodden.” -Roald Amundsen - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Soft Berg

Soft Berg - I like to imagine the underwater part as a behemoth using pretty soft above-water bits as decoys to lure in passing penguins. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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After the ice, we took the zodiacs ashore to scout on penguin colonies and see a magnificent iceberg graveyard, but not before we came across this posing crabeater seal.

Sea Kitten

Sea Kitten - This crabeater seal is just so kitten-like, with a touch of Wilford Brimley around the whiskers. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Posing for Cecil

Posing for Cecil - Hey, what's up? - Photo by Kevin Fox
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People-watching

People-watching - You never know what's going to drift by the floe. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Penguin calisthenics

Penguin calisthenics - If you're happy and you know it, flap your wings! - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Fab Four

Fab Four - Four gentoo penguins about to take a dip. They are about to jump into the water, but the red on the underside of our flippers says they are warm from swimming recently, so its possible these four are just resting here and not part of the colony on this island. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Torpedo Jack

Torpedo Jack - Back from the sea and full of food for three. He's on his way to spell his partner and feed the kids! - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Skua Stealing an Adelie Penguin's Egg

Skua Stealing an Adelie Penguin's Egg - This Skua withstood pecking from the parent penguin before fleeing with their egg. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Stolen

Stolen - This Skua has stolen a penguin egg that never hatched. While Skua are scavengers they do serve the purpose of cleaning up the penguin colony so it stays cleaner. In this situation, at this time of year it is too late for this egg to hatch and still mature quickly enough to survive. Skua will also take small sick or hurt chicks that won't make it either. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Meeting Nature

Meeting Nature - Peng and Paulyn are hiking up the hill to one of the penguin colonies and passing by a lone nest where a couple of gentoo penguins are tending their chicks. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Penguin Kisses

Penguin Kisses - A gentoo mother and chick. Too cute! - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Ecstatic Display

Ecstatic Display - When the penguin comes back to their sweetie from a day at sea they both raise their beaks to the sky and crow, flapping their wings with the joy of seeing each other again. Then they trade places and the one minds the nest while the other, starving, goes out to sea. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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You Lookin' At Me?

You Lookin' At Me? - This is an Adelie penguin. He is heading up the hill to our first Adelie colony (which we will visit in our next post). - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Snow Chilin'

Snow Chilin' - An adelie penguin cooling off in the snow after coming in from a long swim. Petermann Island, Antarctica. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Squawk

Squawk - This Adelie penguin is giving us a big hello. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Edvard Munch's Adelie

Edvard Munch's Adelie - This Adelie was very chatty and he definitely had something to say to me. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Trundling Along

Trundling Along - I just LOVE this little Adelie penguin. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Penguin Race

Penguin Race - One of the paths that the penguins have worn down walking up to their nests. Looking at this it reminds me of a game I had as a kid called Penguin Race. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Passing

Passing - Peng and Paulyn have pulled over so that this little guy can pass by. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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This Much!

This Much! - I loves fish... this much! Adelie penguin on Petermann island, Antarctica. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Iceberg Graveyard

Iceberg Graveyard - This cove has trapped a bunch of icebergs where they now sit and erode away into nothing. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Iceberg River

Iceberg River - The still water passing between these two pieces of iceberg. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Watery Grave Stones

Watery Grave Stones - In a cove beside Petermann Island, Antarctica, these icebergs decay. The peaks of white that headstones in this graveyard bay. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Peep Hole

Peep Hole - A small but deep hole in the snow. Almost seems like a snow cave - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Antarctic Tern Fly By

Antarctic Tern Fly By - A very small Antarctic Tern is flying across the iceberg graveyard. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Ice Spike

Ice Spike - Iceberg beside Petermann Island. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Heading for the Finish Line

Heading for the Finish Line - A gentoo penguin heading back to his nest as fast as it can. He looks like he is racing the other here. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Hi Bob, Hey Phil

Hi Bob, Hey Phil - Two gentoo penguins passing each other on their way to their nest or the water on Petermann Island. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Praying for Penguins

Praying for Penguins - This cross was erected in honor of three British mountaineers who planned on climbing a nearby peak but got forced into setting out upon the fast ice to get to the mainland. The sea ice wasn't thick enough and all three fell through and perished. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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On the same outing that produced these photos, we had our first visit to an Adelie penguin rookery. Adelies are the most stereotypical penguins, tuxedoed, funny, and small. We took so many great shots that we had to make another post out of them, which we'll put up in a couple days.

Sitting with the Adelie penguins, you quickly start to understand them, or it's just them taking away your sanity, pebble by stolen pebble, but judge for yourself in the next chapter!

Read the next chapter: Day 4: Adelie Awesome


Table of Contents:

Introduction: Telling the Story posted Jan 10, 2009

Day 0: Positioning posted Jan 12, 2009

Leaving, on a jet plane posted Jan 12, 2009

Day 1: The Herc posted Jan 15, 2009

Day 1: Penguino posted Jan 16, 2009

Day 2: Chicken posted Jan 17, 2009

Day 2: Leopard posted Jan 19, 2009

Day 2: Snow Day posted Jan 22, 2009

Day 2: Shipwreck posted Jan 26, 2009

Day 2: Totally Tabular posted Jan 27, 2009

Day 3: Gentoo Cute posted Jan 29, 2009

Day 3: Lichen Shag Glacier posted Feb 3, 2009

Day 3: Palmer Station Visit posted Feb 9, 2009

» Day 4: Icy Penguins posted Feb 11, 2009

Day 4: Adelie Awesome posted Feb 15, 2009

Day 4: Leopard Seal Attack posted Feb 17, 2009

Day 4: Kayak posted Feb 19, 2009

Day 4: Vernadsky Station Visit posted Feb 23, 2009

Day 4: Vernadsky Sunset posted Feb 25, 2009

Day 5: Antarctic Circle posted Feb 27, 2009

Day 5: Polar Plunge posted Mar 5, 2009

Day 5: Mouth of The Gullet posted Mar 13, 2009

Day 5: Ice Camping posted Mar 18, 2009

Day 6: Flamingos on Ice posted Mar 20, 2009

Day 6: Mountain Climbing posted Mar 24, 2009

Day 6: Ice Textures posted Mar 26, 2009

Day 6: Antarctic New Years posted Apr 2, 2009

Day 7: Crystal Sound Icebreaker posted Apr 9, 2009

Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 1 posted Apr 17, 2009

Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 2 posted Apr 21, 2009

Day 8: Bird Watching in the Fish Islands posted Apr 23, 2009

Day 8: Icee Day - Part 1 posted May 5, 2009

Day 8: Icee Day - Part 2 posted May 11, 2009

Day 9: Port Lockroy - Base A posted May 20, 2009

Bonus Chapter: Baby Penguins! posted May 21, 2009

Day 9: Antarctic Humpback Whales posted June 3, 2009

Day 9: Dallmann Butt Sliding posted June 11, 2009

Day 10: Birthday Whales posted June 23, 2009

Day 10: Hannah Point Part 1: The Birds posted July 15, 2009

Day 10: Hannah Point Part 2: Elephant Seals posted July 22, 2009

Day 10: Deception Island - Part 1: Walking on the Moon posted Dec 11, 2009

Day 10: Deception Island - Part 2: The Martian Chronicles of Oz posted Dec 15, 2009

Day 11: Emperor Penguins posted Jan 8, 2010

Day 12: Black and White and Pink All Over posted Aug 4, 2011

More chapters posted every few days...



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