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Antarctica Cruise Logbook - Hanseatic Cruise from Ushuaia to Antarctic Peninsula


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Antarctica Cruise Logbook - Cruise Day 2 - Paulet Island in the Weddell Sea
Antarctic Adelie Penguins on Paulet Isle

Thousands of Antarctic Adelie penguins and chicks on Paulet Island in the Weddell Sea.

Photo (c) 2005 Linda Garrison
Leaving Elephant Island, the Hanseatic sailed southward in the Weddell Sea towards the Antarctic peninsula. During the night, the bumps and bangs we heard on the hull told us that we were in icy waters. I sure was glad we had a reinforced hull and were moving slowly! About 6:30 in the morning, we arrived at rugged Paulet Island, which was covered with Adelie penguin chicks and their parents. The island also had an old hut built by the Larsen expedition in the winter of 1903 after their ship, the Antarctic, was crushed by ice.

We went ashore in the Zodiacs and were astounded at the number of brown, downy penguin chicks. Sylvia Stevens, our onboard penguin expert, explained that most of the chicks were about one month old and were so large that it took both parents to feed them. Therefore, most of the parents were feeding at sea. When they return to the herds of chicks, the parent penguins can identify their young by the call. This was a noisy place! The time went by quickly as we watched the interaction of the penguins. The adults would waddle quickly along with the babies "peeping" behind them, trying to keep up. The adult penguins often run from their young in order to properly identify which chicks are theirs. Eventually the chicks are fed by the parent bird. It was quite a morning, and we could see why so many people are so enamored of these hard-working flightless birds.

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