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Published: January 20th 2019
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” U.S. President Calvin Coolidge. (1923-29)
The sun was shining over Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the local name for an eight peaked mountain range behind Jougla Point on Wienke Island. We were watching gentoos and cormorants on their nests with their newborn chicks, a beautiful sight of mid-summer Antarctica.
On our way back to the Zodiac we were confronted by a boundary - a great army stood in front of us. We couldn’t get by. A line of gentoo penguins stood stubbornly in our way.
I held the group back, as we laughed and enjoyed the penguin traffic jam. This is Penguin Country, they have the right of way - we must wait. We chatted for a while, we being me and the gentoos - we talked about the water and the ice and the easiest way to get there. We chatted about a route that would work well to access krill.
“Follow me”, I said.
I proceeded to walk like a penguin over the snow pack toward the water. As I waddled over the snow, with my wings angled downward, I had a squadron of 15 penguins that turned their beaks to the bay
South Shetland Islands
and started to march. They followed me to the water edge, hesitated, then leapt to the krill-infested depths.
It was hysterical! My minions at Jougla Point. Just for a moment, I was Lord of the Gentoos. Orcinus orca
An arduous slaughter through slush and ice-chunks, sea-ice and icebergs - a howling wind and sub-zero temps with salt-spray hammering our faces. That was our reality as we charged southward in the Penola Strait to hopefully get a glimpse of some killer whales. The 5 mile Zodiac ride was worth it - we had several whales spy-hopping by ice-floes. The excitement was intense as the whales swam near, and under the Zodiacs. These were ecotype-2 killer whales - the seal-eaters! They seem to have a preference for which type of seal they eat - they don’t appear to pursue crabeater seals - but Weddell seals seem more appealing.
It was a rare treat for us all to have these magnificent marine mammals so close to our little boats. A little while later we had more orca, this time they were right by the ship. Belgica antarctica
I’m often found nose to the
ground in the moss beds near Base Brown in Paradise Harbour, searching for the elusive Belgica antarctica
(Antarctic wingless midge). I like the challenge of finding the tiny insect, and I like the green. I like the fresh green of spring in an otherwise white world.
The Antarctic greenery is shared among two vascular plants (a grass and a pearlwort), several mosses, liverworts & lichens, as well as the stunning
algae, Prasiola crispa.
I basked on the damp rocks on the steep hillside among the green.
Antarctica is incredible!
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