Antarctica Marathon 2014: Day 2: Half Moon Island

Antarctica Marathon 2014: Day 2: Half Moon Island

This is a post about what we saw on Half Moon Island

More penguins and another excursion. It was another opportunity for most of us to get some more time on the Zodiac so we would be ready for race day as we would need to take it onto shore to run our marathon.

This was our first sighting of the macaroni penguin. He was introduced onto this island to start a new population of these penguins. There is supposed to be a mating pair but our resident guide couldn’t find the other one. Usually either one or both are out at sea feeding and when they are done, they go back to the top of the hill to claim their spot.

I took a video of the trek up and I am so glad I did. It started off a decent day with some wind and it turned into a snow and sleet storm with about 30mph winds (gusting to about 40). We walked uphill and then downhill with the wind, sleet and snow at our face. The last picture is showing a line of penguins going over the hill and jagged rocks down to the snow patch in the third picture.

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Luckily I had brought my snow goggles so I could see where I was going, but I didn’t have any face protection so I was trying to duck my head to protect my face. We made it up the hill to see the macaroni penguin. The lead tour guide had already set up the monocular pointed at the macaroni penguin. Most of the colony of penguins are on top of this large hill. The high ground allows penguins to mate much earlier than if they made their nest further down the hill. This allows the most amount of time for their young to grow up and shed before winter comes.

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We promptly went back to the Zodiac after seeing the macaroni penguin.

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From this picture, you can clearly start seeing snow on the ground. Scroll up to the previous picture. This happened within 20 minutes. We learned that weather changes quickly.

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As we were heading back, many more people were heading to the top of the hill so we were glad we left. We were one of the first ships back to the main ship.

The waves were a bit rough in the morning so they cancelled the kayaking trip. This means that the group would go the next available day. I thought this was good as this meant that they didn’t have to kayak the day before the marathon. It turned out that they were delayed two days, so they kayaked two days after the marathon.

The first picture is us in the Zodiacs. The second picture is of the gangway getting wiped out by about 2 foot waves. Earlier, those waves were at least 6 feet high, but the ship managed to turn slightly in place and sheltered the gangway from the highest waves. The dude on the gangway in the blue jacket had balls bigger than any of us to stand there as the waves cleared his waist.

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