After a short walk around the iceberg, we could hear the first calls of Emperors. And soon we saw them as well. The colony is estimated to have around 10.000 adults, but a far smaller number was present this time. The chicks, born in July, were large enough now to stay warm by themselves and were only accompanied by a few adults. The other adults were out at sea finding food for them. Every now and then small groups would arrive at the colony with food for the chicks.
It was awesome to sit down and watch all their behaviour: chicks calling for their parents, small fights between chicks and adults, chicks running around and sometimes curious individuals who would approach us to see what those strange things were that suddenly showed up at their place.
We estimated that less as 2000 people have ever seen this colony, Even though this is the most visited Emperor Penguin colony, very few ships try to reach it. The past years only Oceanwide’s Ortelius has tried, with the only successful attempt in 2013 and before that, the Kapitan Klebnikov has tried it for several years. But it is likely that less as 10 ships have ever seen this colony. A really special feeling to be part of that select group and to see the ultimate Antarctic bird.
More posts about this trip:
A Daring trip – about the goal of the Weddell Sea trip
Third time lucky – about finding the colony and good ice conditions, finally
Otherworldly – about landing on the sea ice
BBF – about two Emperor Penguin chicks