Monday, November 30, 2009

Macaronies, life and death and glaciers. Sunday, November 29

This morning we see macaroni penguins from the zodiac. For a few reasons (including breeding fur seals on the beach--very nasty, territorial males--we can not land on the beach. Penguin species count is at six. The zodiac cruise includes checking out a few other coves along the coast with fantastic rock formations. They look like something out of a fantasy novel.

We do land on a different beach in Cooper Bay and find a dead elephant seal being pecked at by skuas and giant petrals. The giant petrals really have the vulture niche in South Georgia. They even have same behaviors--charging with out stretched wings, tail in a vertical posture, getting their whole head into the carcass.

One of the king penguin chicks seems to be desperate for food. Keeps going up to anything (including people and tripods) begging for food. We take a hike up a snow field looking for albatross nests. No nests but a great walk.

The afternoon is a zodiac cruise up the very narrow Larson Harbor. This is a scenery excursion, not wildlife. It was amazing. Later, the ship cruises up Drygalski Fjord to the tidewater glacier at its head. To leave, the captain uses the bow and stern thrusters to pivot the ship.

In the wrap-up before dinner under-water videos from the ROV--some cool, strange things live on the floor of the ocean here. Also a song by one naturalist about krill--”All you need is krill.” (think Beatles)

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