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Published: July 30th 2018
We’d travelled all the way to the Antarctic aboard our trusty icebreaker ship, and now the final stages on our journey to fulfilling a life ambition to see emperor penguins in the wild were about to be completed. After a hearty breakfast to ward off the cold, we donned our snow boots, boarded a helicopter, strapped ourselves in, and we were on our way.
We were soon soaring over the majestic, icy landscape, already in awe at the beauty we were witnessing. During the ride, our guide pointed out a trio of whales, their massive tails breaching the water as they dove down to feed. One was particularly playful and leapt totally clear of the water, giving us a clear view of the scale of these huge animals before they swam back into the depths of the icy ocean. We also saw a family of seals relaxing on a rock, calling to each other and looking about. Our adventure had begun!
After zooming over more unbelievable scenery
, we began to make our descent. We alighted on sea ice, and then it was all out and time to trek the short distance towards the Snow Hill rookery. Everywhere ice, everywhere snow, and not a penguin in sight. As we walked we wondered if we simply weren’t going to be lucky that day.
But then, finally, we came over a small hill and spotted our first penguin; an adult male, just minding his own business. Before we knew it they were everywhere we looked! Thousands of penguins, old and young, in pairs or in groups. We were so excited and overwhelmed, but it was important to remain calm and quiet so as not to disturb the incredible creatures. We saw tiny chicks, still nestled up to their parents, and as far as the eye could see these little families carrying on with life, unperturbed by our admiring gaze! The younger ones were sliding across the ice on their bellies and into the ocean to catch fish, the parents returning from the water with the food in their beaks to feed their young. It felt like we’d stumbled into a nature documentary!
At one point, a particularly bold young penguin came towards us, wondering what we were doing there, I suppose. I don’t think I breathed the entire time! We took so many amazing photos and the birds were so close we didn’t even need to zoom! We could have stayed watching these incredible scenes forever but it was time to walk back to the helicopter and return to the boat. I think it’s safe to say we all dreamt of only penguins that night! If you are looking for a holiday out of the ordinary then I'd certainly recommend going on an adventure to Antarctica
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