Tag Archives: chinstrap penguins

Meet the Penguins

Yesterday, while we were out searching for krill with Dr. Kim Bernard, we saw lots of gentoo penguins, quite a few Adelies, and several chinstraps. They were doing the same thing we were—looking for krill—although I think they were better than us at finding them. They were certainly better at catching them.

Penguins are a big part of project CONVERGE because, ultimately, we want to know whether tides and convergence zones help to bring krill together into patches that penguins use as feeding grounds. To do that, there’s a whole penguin team of four people that spend all day, every day studying where penguins go, how they raise their chicks, and what they eat.

We went out with the team today and got an introduction to the three penguin species that live in the Palmer Station area. Click through the slideshow to meet the penguins and the penguin scientists, too:

A Home Beneath the GlacierLoner in the CrowdFashion Forward PenguinLast but not LeastAssessing the AdeliesHigh-Tech Penguin ResearchHungry Mouths to FeedGentoo FamilyA Jumping-Off Point
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Taking the Scenic Route to Palmer Station

Once we reached the Antarctic Peninsula, the ship tucked into a narrow channel called the Gerlache Strait that runs between islands to the west and the peninsula itself to the east. By taking these protected waters, the captain knew that if a storm should blow in we’d be sheltered from the worst of the wind and waves—a measure of safety well worth the few extra miles it added to our voyage.

After spending a few days out of sight of land, the passengers of the Gould spilled out on deck to watch penguins speed through the water, look for the spouts of humpback whales, and admire mountains that seemed to be directly on top of us.

Click through the slideshow to travel with us down the Gerlache Strait to Palmer Station:

Chinstraps on GlassA Convergence of Ice ChunksWhale Spout in SunlightLookout From the Upper DeckDaylight at MidnightRed Sky at MorningThe Ceiling DescendsWelcome to Palmer Station

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Meeting the Locals at Livingston Island

On New Year’s Day we finished crossing the Drake Passage, saw our first icebergs, and made a quick side trip to a place called Livingston Island. We were taking food, supplies, and one person to a small group of five Americans and one Chilean who are studying the island’s seals and penguins. They met us at the beach, and station manager Mike Goebel greeted us wearing a Santa hat and carrying a candy-striped ski pole. They’d been living on the island for two months, since the Gould dropped them off on Halloween. Their neighbors are the Antarctic wildlife: fur seals, chinstrap and gentoo penguins, a few other seabirds, and the whales blowing just offshore.

Skyscraping IcebergLand Ho!A Penguin Welcoming PartyPass the Veggies, Please!An Antarctic TraditionHome of the Fur SealsMaking a ComebackPenguins of a Warmer World

Cape Shireff on Livingston Island is at about 62 degrees 22 minutes south latitude, 60 degrees 50 minutes west latitude—have a look for it on a world map. When we left the island we set our course for Palmer Station, which is at about 64 degrees south, 64 degrees west. We’re sailing through a narrow channel between steep, snow-laden mountains. Icebergs are all around us, and chinstrap penguins are standing on them. We’ll be at Palmer in about a day—depending on how many humpbacks the whale biologists find along the way for us to study.

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