Antarctic Fox
The log of Rachel and Kevin Fox's trip to the Antarctic Peninsula in the Summer of 2008-9
Day 3: Gentoo Cute
December 28 - Ruins of Almirante Brown Base, Paradise Bay, the Antarctic Peninsula

A new day! Woke up in Paradise Bay to just beautiful weather. After breakfast we suited up and hit the zodiacs, heading for Almirante Brown base, an Argentine research station abandoned in 1984. It seems that the doctor (we hear it's always the doctor) got a bit stir crazy during the long winter and in order to force his way back to civilization he set fire to the main building and several of the outbuildings, burning the base to the ground.

It's no coincidence that penguins and antarctic bases go hand in hand. The Gentoo, Adelie, and Chinstrap penguins all nest on rocks and can't nest on snow. The antarctic bases are usually on areas with little or no snow pack to help prevent them from getting buried over the years. Since less than 1% of Antarctica fits this criteria it's no wonder that a colony of Gentoo set up a rookery on the remains of the base.

The pictures speak for themselves here. It was still early enough in the season that there was a mix of eggs and very young hatchlings. Even so, these particular penguins started a bit later than they should have (likely because the snow hadn't melted from their breeding grounds until later than usual). Here's hoping for a late season to ensure the chicks mature in time! If today's weather is any indication, they'll have no problem.

Red, White & Blue

Red, White & Blue - The abandoned red buildings look striking against the the white and blue of Antarctica. Plus it makes them easy to find in the snow. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Fish Bones

Fish Bones - Tumbled icebergs take on so many shapes. Like cloud watching, animals and stories appear in these beautiful icebergs. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Natural Habitat

Natural Habitat - These Gentoo penguins have built their colony of nests on this abandoned research base. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Gentoo Penguin Grow - Gentoo are really pretty small under all their feathers. This clip gives you a bit of an idea of how much their feathers define their shape. Watch how much the bird inflates and deflates as he flexes his feathers. - Video by Kevin Fox
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Penguin Chaos

Penguin Chaos - The crowded chaos of a Gentoo colony built up on an old abandoned research base. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Past Reflections

Past Reflections - Part of the abandoned Admiral Brown research base in Antarctica. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Neck Stretch

Neck Stretch - This Gentoo penguin is doing a little stretch, maybe to reach an itch. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Lucy, I'm Home

Lucy, I'm Home - A Gentoo penguin returning from hours of swimming and fishing. He will pause and cool off on the rocks before returning to the nest trade places with his mate and feed the chicks. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Gentoo Rookery - Beautiful ocean views, just don't mind the noisy neighbors! - Video by Kevin Fox
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Little Hut

Little Hut - A small part of the research station still sitting out on the rocks. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Drill Sergeant

Drill Sergeant - A snowy sheathbill marches up and down the penguin ranks. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Happy Penguin

Happy Penguin - To penguins, pebbles are happiness. Our naturalist Rob told us a lot about this. He was as cute as the penguins when he talked about how happy pebbles make penguins. Penguins use pebbles to build their nests. The pebbles provide good drainage for the nest. Penguins also bring pebbles to their mates as a sign of affection. Its like bringing home flowers or some other trinket for the house. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Knock Knock

Knock Knock - A Gentoo penguin waiting for its egg to hatch. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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As we stayed to document the Gentoo, the rest of the group climbed the nearby mountain peak. One thing about snow climbing: Getting down is the easy part!

They Climbed High

They Climbed High - Some of our group climbed up to this lookout behind the abandoned base and Gentoo colony. I opted out as I had slightly twisted my ankle the day before and being rather gentle with it today. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Antarctic Bellyslide - Getting up is the hard part. While the view was tremendous, I think the slide down was a big motivator. - Video by Kevin Fox
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Snow Fort

Snow Fort - Snow build up has blocked the door of this old abandoned research station - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Gentoo Two

Gentoo Two - Two tiny babies peek out from below mom. Looking for food of course! - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Life on the Nest - A good example of what life is like on the nest. - Video by Kevin Fox
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Penguin Poop - Don't like to waste time? Neither do penguins! Click here if you want the straight poop, asap! - Video by Kevin Fox
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Snuggle

Snuggle - Tiny baby snuggles in to its mom/dad for warmth. I wonder if this chick is fairly newly hatched since the adult penguins feather are rather wet near where the baby has been resting. I am going to try and check with Rob our naturalist. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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She shoots she scores

She shoots she scores - Rachel shooting penguins with the 300mm prime Penguin lens. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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There is Only You Little Ones!

There is Only You Little Ones! - Proud gentoo Momma gazes down at her chicks as she sits on her nest in the middle of this penguin colony. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Anyone In There?

Anyone In There? - I'd really like it if you would come out little penguin! - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Learning to Fly

Learning to Fly - Actually this Gentoo penguin is trying to cool off after coming in from swimming. The bright red under his left flipper is part of his bodies way of letting the heat out of this body. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Heading Out

Heading Out - Gentoo penguin heading out to see to bathe, swim and fish. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Dolphining Penguin

Dolphining Penguin - Dolphining is a method of swimming for penguins. The reflections of the water this day is just an added bonus to watching this beautiful display. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Hello?!

Hello?! - Gentoo penguin ready to call out to find his mate. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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True Balance

True Balance - Yoga or the things we do to reach that itch? Either way this Gentoo penguin has it down. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Esctactic Display

Esctactic Display - This happy penguin is calling out a greeting to his mate to help him find her and let her know he has returned. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Gentoo Nesting - Sunbathing in Antarctica - Video by Kevin Fox
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Prom Backdrop

Prom Backdrop - Kevin calls this the prom backdrop since the background looks like a 2D poster behind this posing penguin. However the whole thing is real and actually 3D. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Majestic

Majestic - Penguins nesting around some of the remains of the burnt down Admiral Brown research base. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Tip Toes

Tip Toes - I have nothing really to say about this one. This Gentoo penguin just makes me giggle! - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Blue Screen

Blue Screen - Gentoo penguin on an abandoned research base with the incredibly bright blue of the water behind it. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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ALMIRANTE BROWN

ALMIRANTE BROWN - Abandoned research base in Antarctica. It was abandoned after the resident doctor burnt down parts of it because he couldn't handle wintering in Antarctica. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Read the next chapter: Day 3: Lichen Shag Glacier


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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