After spending a whole month sampling the invertebrates that live in Eastern Antarctica, we are headed back home! Besides the amazing science that we accomplished over this short period of time, we were able to see penguins in their natural habitat along with endless icebergs.
It was easy to spot icebergs since they were everywhere. But watching penguins run across the ice required hours standing on the bow of the ship. Sometimes, you would hear someone yell “There are penguins port side!!”. If you were lucky – and fast enough – you would watch a raft of penguins swimming away from the icebreaker. Their heads would bop in and out of the water as they tried to get away from the ship as quickly as penguinly possible. Unsurprisingly, we would usually see the Adelie penguins since they are the most common penguins living in the Antarctic continent. But occasionally you could catch a glimpse of an emperor penguin swimming near the ship.
If you took too long to put on your layers you would be greeted disappointingly by icy winds and countless icebergs. If you were desperate enough to see penguins, you would dedicate the next few hours standing outside as the ship moved across the beautiful Antarctic landscape.
Alejandro De Santiago
University of Georgia