Antarctic Fox
The log of Rachel and Kevin Fox's trip to the Antarctic Peninsula in the Summer of 2008-9
Day 11: Emperor Penguins
January 5 - Vicinity of James Ross Island, Weddell Sea, the Antarctic Peninsula

It finally happened. We had a day of rest!! Really it was a decision of our guides to push back South on the other side of the peninsula to see if there were any penguins left in the only Emperor penguin colony for hundreds of miles. They weren't really giving us time off, they just needed time to get us to the next awesome thing to see.

So we headed out down the Eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula into the Weddell sea, an area filled with fast ice (floating ice sheets still connected to land), to see if the ice would let us get as far as the the colony. This is the area that Ernest Shackleton was navigating through a century ago where his ship, the Endurance, became trapped and frozen into the the ice of the Weddell sea. We were really hoping this wasn't going to happen to us! So it was a day of boating and a welcome day of rest and sorting photographs and playing cribbage and generally just enjoying the boat and everyone's company. Rob also gave us a great talk on the life of Ernest Shackleton (amazing) as well as a talk on the trip Rob leads to take guests down to view the Titanic (at our request - also amazing, and sorry Rob, but while it sounds cool, I'm not ready to learn how not to pee for 14 hours). It was a more grey day then we had had so far and so there was not as much amazing scenery. We could mostly even rest our eyes and our constant impulse to jump up and see everything.

However it wasn't a completely idle day. The ice became too thick and we weren't able to make it south enough to loop under James Ross Island and reach the colony, but we were lucky enough to find two adolescent Emperor penguins as we were traveling. The first was an older youth who was just coming into his colors (yellow on the sides of his head), floating along on a bergy bit and resting from swimming and fishing. The second Emperor we found wandering around on a ice floe. This one was just a little younger and still had some of his fledgling down on his head. It made him look like he had a little afro and he was too adorable.

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Ice Resting

Ice Resting - Adolescant Emperor penguin resting on a bergy bit before going back to fishing! - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Enjoying the View

Enjoying the View - Young adolescent Emperor penguin resting on a ice flow. He hasn't quite shed all of his baby down but all that is left is on his head. Makes him look like he has a little afro. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Little Penguin

Little Penguin - Young Emperor Peguin with down still on his head. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Having finally seen a couple of Emperor penguins, we could say that we had now seen four of the five Antarctic penguins, plus one Sub-Antarctic penguin. Not at all bad!!

Read the next chapter: Day 12: Black and White and Pink All Over

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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