Thursday, January 31, 2013

Seals of Antarctica

We had the opportunity to see three types of seals- the weddell seal, elephant seal, and leopard seal.  The big colonies of elephant seals are on South Georgia, so we didn't get to see those, but we did see two cute young ones hanging out on the rocks by a penguin colony.  We saw a bunch of weddell's all over the ice and were lucky to spot one leopard seal at the end of the trip.  They are very creepy animals that move like snakes and their heads look like skulls.  I was happy to see them and get a few interesting shots, but for the coolest pictures of leopard seals I've ever seen check out Paul Nicklen's Ted Talk.



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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Baby Penguins of Antarctica

We were lucky enough to be there during hatching season and all the babies we saw were just a couple days old!  The moms and dads have a short window to care for them, protect them from predatory birds and teach them to make it on their own then they have to hit the water and refuel.  It was adorable to watch the little guys poke their heads out from beneath their moms and dads.  Watching the regurgitating feeding not so cute, but still pretty interesting!


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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Icebergs and Icescapes of Antarctica

The landscapes in Antarctica looked unreal.  When standing alone on the bow watching endless cobalt water and ice unfold in front of me it seems pretty crazy that this is the same planet that holds NYC and all the steel and grey buildings.  The compressed water in the icebergs creates the most gorgeous blue color as it is reflected back through the spectrum of light and makes for beautiful pictures too!  

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Penguins of Antarctica

I had so much fun watching the penguins and don't think I would ever get sick of lying in the snow watching them waddle by.  They are such clumsy little guys, constantly falling over and then just scooting along on their stomachs.  We got to see Adelie, Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins, but the Adelies (picture right below) were my favorites with their sleek black heads and light blue eyelids.  The penguins all look the same except for their heads- the Adelies are all black, Gentoo have orange beaks and Chinstraps have a line on their chin like a chinstrap! 


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Friday, January 18, 2013

Antarctica: The White Continent


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Ever since my trip to the Arctic in 2009 I have been dreaming of visiting the Antarctic.  I figured Antarctica would be a trip to add to my bucket list and dream of for many years to come so I was so excited when my whole family decided to go this December.  It was magical trip full of penguins, beautiful ice, getting to meet incredible people on board and my sister got engaged on New Years Day!  We went with National Geographic and Lindblad which I highly recommend to anyone making the trip down there.  We saw three species of penguins while we were down there- Adelie, Gentoo and Chinstrap (you have to go to South Georgia to see the big guys like Emperors).  While none of these species are considered threatened like the penguins I saw in South Africa or the Galapagos they are all being affected by climate change.  Chinstrap penguin's population is plummeting while Gentoos (pictured above) is on the rise filling in the niche the Chinstraps are leaving open with their more adaptable breeding and eating habits.  The clearest sign of climate change can be seen in the ice itself- in the calving glaciers and receding ice.  We were lucky to have James Balog on our ship who had just finished the movie Chasing Ice, which follows him as he travels the world documenting climate change and making a historical record of the receding ice through time lapse photography.  We also were lucky to have Jen Hayes and David Doubilet on our boat who went diving during the days and created stunning underwater imagery and video along with the ship's underwater videographer and it was amazing to see the underwater world beneath us!  Here are some of my favorites of the trip- more to come soon!
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