The Gentoos of Waterboat Point

On the last day of 2016, our cruise ship the Seabourn Quest, anchored just off Waterboat Point in Paradise Bay.

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Here is Chile’s Antarctic Base which was active from 1951-58 and again briefly in the early 1980’s. The base was named after Chilean president Gabriel Gonzalez Videla who in the 1940’s became the first head of state of any nation, to visit Antarctica.

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Waterboat Point is an official historic site under the Antarctic Treaty and this sign honours the smallest ever wintering-over party of just two men, who spent a year and a day in 1921-22 in a shelter they made out of an old whaling boat they found on the site. Maxime Lester and Thomas Bagshawe, 22 and 19-years-old respectively, were junior members of the British Imperial Expedition, and when their particular project was aborted because of lack of funds, they and two others hitched a ride on a Norwegian Whaling ship. Against the advice of the whalers, these two opted to stay over in Antarctica for a year. They survived the Antarctic winter ‘against the odds’ by extending the hulk of the old boat with packing cases, sacks and timber. This small, uncomfortable but almost weatherproof hut became their base, and they supplemented their meager supply of biscuits, baked beans, pemmican, sweets and crème-de-menthe sweets aand a little alcohol, with seal and penguin meat, as well as penguin eggs. They used seal blubber for heating and cooking fuel. When the two whaling Captains returned for them on the 18th December, they sent them away again, refusing to leave until they’d spent a full year there and completed their research. They left on the 13th January, 1922. Theirs is an incredible story of  ‘survival against the odds’.

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Whilst there, they did daily metrological measurements and conducted detailed studies of the wildlife. Bagshawe wrote the first scientific study of penguins and their development, and today the Gentoo penguins, the descendants of the ones he studied, nest in the ruins of the whaleboat shelter.

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If you’re a penguin hugger, this is the place to go. You can really get up close and personal with the gorgeous Gentoos. This Mama-to-be even stood up from her nest to proudly show us her eggs. (I told her you’d like to see what she was sitting on.)

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Here is Marilyn, the blondest and most glamorous of these red-beaked creatures. Our expedition leader told us that she’s very popular and never without a partner.

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This jolly pair were most cooperative and posed very happily for their photo shoot.

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We only had about an hour to explore, as there’s a limit to how many people are allowed on land at any one time. Passengers on our expedition cruise were split up into five groups, and as one lot left to rejoin the ship, the next ones were arriving.

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At this point, we had travelled just over 3.500 km from our starting point in Valparaiso.

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We still had another two weeks to go, so I have lots more to share with you.

Tonight we’re going out for dinner with friends to a restaurant who’s motto is “Eat, drink and be comfy.” It gets great reviews, so I’m looking forward to it very much. Hope you’re having a relaxing and fun weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feathers On Friday: Pelis in my backyard

´This morning Pelegrino and Pelecia went for a turn around the lake.

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They started off at a respectable distance from one another, but soon got a bit bolder and moved in for a tête-à-tête and maybe a quick kiss.

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Suddenly they were startled by a call from the trees. “Hey you two, cut it out! No canoodling allowed. You’re much too young to get serious.. ”

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They got such a fright that they both took off in great haste and spoiled my photo shoot.

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Ah well, as Shakespeare once said, “The course of true love, never did run smooth.”

Wishing you all a great weekend.

 

Thursday’s Special: Le Rouge et Le Noir à la Ms. Gentoo

The theme for Paula’s Special this week is ‘Le Rouge et Le Noir’. When we visited Waterboat Point in Antarctica, I saw this mommy Gentoo sitting on her eggs. It looked as though she was wearing red lipstick. So striking with her black and white outfit, don’t you agree?

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Hope your week is turning out to be a good one.

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Red is for Valentines

On Saturday evening, hubby and I went to a wonderful Valentine’s dinner dance. After walking the red carpet, we entered the foyer which was decorated with, not hearts, but lanterns, and the message “Love….Romance” up in lights.

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We had a great evening with delicious food and lots of dancing to a fantastic band.

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Who would have imagined that when we threw in our lot together over fifty years ago, that our journey of love would take us from England to South Africa and now to Florida. Something that hasn’t changed over the years, is that I always wear red on Valentine’s day. Today, it’s a red shirt with jeans. Life is strange and wonderful, not to even mention full of surprises. Have you found the same?

Three years ago at a local wildlife reserve, we spotted two love birds wearing red on Valentine’s Day.  I think this pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks were making plans.

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Wishing you all a love-filled day today.  ❤

 

Sunday Trees: Mystery Tree Trunk Figurine

For Becca’s Sunday Tree Challenge, I have these photos of a very old tree we saw in the Plaza Francia whilst on a free walking tour of Buenos Aires.

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I was intrigued by the mysterious figurine standing just inside the base of the trunk. I wonder who put it there, and why. I guess I’ll never know.

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Happy Sunday to you all. 🙂

 

A Photo A Week Details: A Convent Of Penguins

Nancy’s ‘Photo a Week Challenge’ is ‘Details’ and she invites us to share photos showing the grand scale and the detail of a scene.

On January 4th our cruise took us past Cooper Island, South Georgia. This is what we saw as we gazed ashore. South Georgia is one of the world’s most remarkable wildlife locations, as despite being surrounded by chilly Antarctic waters, the sea around it doesn’t freeze, so there is no winter exodus as in Antarctica. The island is full of penguins, seabirds and seals. The sight of a veritable mass of thousands of penguins, all standing around as if waiting for the next ferry, was quite comical.

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Can you see the cute baby penguins here? They have downy feathers in brown, which are not waterproof, so they have to stay out of the water and are totally dependent on their parents until they get their juvenile plumage.

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The seals just lie in heaps, like humongous pebbles.

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This gorgeous King Penguin, posing in front of two of his seal friends, seemed the ideal way to show you more detail. Selwyn on the right rose to the occasion, but Blondie in the middle of her siesta was totally oblivious to the fact that she was having her photo taken for WordPress.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some more of the wonders of nature that we were privileged to see on our cruise.

Happy weekend to you all.

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WPC Solitude: Solitary Seal

On the last day of 2016, this fur seal wasn’t out partying with his friends. He chose to spend his day all by himself on an iceberg.

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I don’t think you can get much more solitary than that.

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Happy Tuesday to you all. Click her to see more entries for the ‘Solitude’ challenge

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