February 2, 2008
Paradise Harbor, Antarctica.
They look like dolphins swimming alongside the boat, but very small dolphins. But looking closely they are penguins, Gentoo Penguins. They move quickly thought the water, up for breath, down to swim. These penguins do not migrate; they stay close to their rookeries, the females feeding mostly on krill, the males on fish and krill. Both catch food and regurgitate it into the mouths of their chicks. In Paradise Harbor we saw penguins both swimming next to the boat, and in their rookeries on shore. They are not at all aggressive to people and seem to have no fear of them. Chile’s Gonzalez Videla Station on Paradise Harbor is surrounded by them, standing between buildings, behind parked zodiacs and along the beach. Living at this base has to be at least somewhat unpleasant because of the stench that you can catch from the ship. The soil around the base is covered by Penguin poo. As we sailed out we saw one lone penguin sitting on an ice burg.