Documentary Galleries: Antarctica
I boarded the Norwegian Coastal Voyage ship, the Nordenorge in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. During this three-week voyage, we would call at several places in Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands, before sailing north to Buenos Aires.
In a world so pure white and pristine it felt as if I had landed on a remote planet, as ice, penguins, seals and more penguins would be the theme for most of this journey. Much of our time was spent cruising along at sea, avoiding icebergs, some as big as five square miles, which floated by like small countries.
The massive colony of yellow-bibbed king penguins was the sight I had been waiting for. They are much bigger than the chinstrap, gentoo, Magellanic and rockhoppers we’ve seen so far. En mass they sound like a concert of breathy accordions. They know no enemies on land and brazenly waddled right up to our group, heads cocked with an insatiable childlike curiosity. We were equally transfixed. Their giant feet jutted out from under the folds of fur which protected their eggs and chicks from the elements and circling predatory raptors. Occasionally we’d see a fur ball chick emerge and nestle close among the adults. At one point a herd of reindeer strolled in amidst them. It was difficult to break away from the rows of penguins lined up on the hillside, squawking and flapping their flippers as if they’d come to say goodbye. After all, we were the last flock of strange human beings they would see until next season.