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Antarctica Marathon 2014: Day 5: Curverville Island, Wilhelmina Bay

Antarctica Marathon 2014: Day 5: Curverville Island, Wilhelmina Bay

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This is a post about our excursions to Curverville Island and Wilhelmina Bay.

Day 5: Morning: Curverville Island

Curverville island has the largest Gentoo Penguin colony anywhere. However, this is late in the season so many of the penguins are gone. There are still many penguins around, mainly abandoned chicks. Many of the chicks are molting so they can finally get into the water.

At this island, we managed to get very close to the penguins. There were many chicks still here. You can tell by their playful behavior. Chicks are very inquisitive and often go up to us people. We got many penguins coming up to us and one even got on top of someone laying down.

This runner tried to one-up everyone else in the #selfie game. Try this at home and not in the aquarium.

This may seem pretty funny, but some of the chicks often chase the adult penguins hoping to get them to feed them. However, many times the chicks at this point are abandoned by the adults to fend for themselves. They are just hoping to find their parents and hope they can get fed. If they hatch too late, they may molt too late in the season and they may starve to death as they cannot get into the water soon enough to start eating. Chicks cannot get into the water without molting.

This would be a good time to use a wide angle lens as I often got very close to the penguin. However, a regular zoom lens would be sufficient to cover the distances of the subjects.

Afternoon: Wilhelmina Bay

The waves got pretty choppy later in the afternoon so the captain did not allow for Zodiac operations that afternoon. We had a cruise in and around the bay looking for whales and we found about 10-20 whales in the bay.

I took a video of a group of three whales feeding on krill as a team. Here were the snapshots from the videos:

First, the whales will exhale deep below the surface of the water. The air will help bring the krill up to the surface, as seen in the next picture. Then the whales will float up with their mouths towards the surface and ingest the water along with the krill. They will then dive again and repeat a few times.

I then spent the rest of the time on the bridge and took a few pictures of the scenery.

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