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10 December 2012 / leggypeggy

Pléneau Island—our first landing in Antarctica

Pléneau Island

A lone penguin surveys the iceberg graveyard at Pléneau Island in Antarctica

Three days into our Antarctic expedition, we had the chance to don our cold-weather gear and venture on to the snow and ice on Pléneau Island.

Soon after breakfast, a fleet of Zodiacs ferried half the passengers from ship to shore, and then returned to take the other half for a cruise through the nearby iceberg graveyard. After about 90 minutes, the two groups switched places.

Iceberg

Close-up of a resident in the iceberg graveyard near Pléneau Island

Pléneau Island, which lies at the southern end of the Lemaire Channel, is home to a largish Gentoo penguin colony.

Because there are such strict guidelines regarding where we can go and how we should behave in the Antarctic, the penguins virtually ignore us.

As a result, they happily go about their business of courting, singing, bonking, laying eggs and fine-tuning their nests, while we gape in wonder and snap photos like crazy.

Our first encounter with the penguins was more fascinating that we could have imagined, and the cold-weather gear definitely proved itself when we returned to the Zodiacs for our cruise.

While Zodiacs don’t seem to go very fast, they produce a real chill in the air that bites, especially if you leave your face, head or hands exposed.

Luckily Quark, who ran our expedition, provided us with weighty, warm, waterproof boots and jackets, and the travel agent, through whom we booked the trip, loaned us waterproof pants. We already had gloves and liners, although I lost my outer gloves in Peru a while back, so we borrowed a pair from Colin, our Oasis truck driver.

Wrapped up to the eyeballs, our Zodiac motored through the iceberg graveyard, which is called that because the bergs are permanently grounded. The scenery was breathtaking.

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3 Comments

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  1. lmo58 / Dec 10 2012 12:31 pm

    Wonderful photos yet again Peggy! Thank you so much. I’m so pleased that you were able to have such a good experience with the penguins.

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Dec 10 2012 1:57 pm

      We had lots of good experiences with penguins, so stay tuned.

      Like

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