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8 January, 2002


We have only been here for one night and a full day, and it is amazing what we have seen and done. We were invited to go out for an evening ride in a Zodiac, the type of inflatable boat used here. We went to Torgesen Island, where there are many colonies of Adelie penguins. This is an area where people are allowed to get off boats and walk around. We had to stay away from the animals, but often they walked close by us on their way to and from the water. We watched penguin parents and their chicks. The sights were great, the sounds were wonderful, and the smells were, well, smells of penguin poop!

Then we motored past Elephant Rocks, where we saw several elephant seals. The bull elephant seals were fighting with each other in the water. When I can get my photos, I will write more about that. We also motored by Cormorant Island, where we saw (guess what?) many cormorants (a type of seabird) All of this travel was within a two mile limit of Palmer Station. For safety reasons, no one is allowed to go further away in a Zodiac boat. Later I will tell you about the safety classes we have taken in order to go out in boats.

This Adelie penguin parent is fortunate to have these two chicks. It has been a bad year for the hatching of eggs. There are fewer chicks than usual. Earlier in the season, the snow was so high that penguins had trouble sitting on the nests. As you can see, they make their nests out of rocks! (Photo by Amy Chiuchiolo)

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