Hydruga Rocks

Today was January 6, 2019.

Penguins are indiscriminate poopers.  In close quarters, which you will note is the case in most of the nesting areas. they poop and get pooped on.  Ironically, most seemed to be fairly fastidious about cleaning their feathers as they got out of the water from a swim, only to go back to their nests to get pooped on again.

 

Today we had a landing at Hydruga Rocks.  Hydruga is the genus name for the leopard seal which is one of the largest predators in Antarctica.  I believe the crew on the ship said there are rarely leopard seals present at this location, so it may be a bit of a misnomer.

After going to Carlini Station we crossed the Bransfield Straight to the Gerlache Straight where we would spend a large portion of the remainder of our trip.  Hydruga Rocks was located adjacent to to Two Hummocks Island in the Gerlache Straight.

This was a really beautiful spot.  We spent a bit of time organizing 2 group photos.  I don’t have copies of them, but they are probably available on the Homeward Bound social media channels if you are interested.  Each of these photos was to acknowledge 2 of our sponsors – ACCIONA and Human Synergistics.  ACCIONA is global company that seeks to respond to the needs of society by providing renewable energy, infrastructure, water and services.  Human Synergistics is the company that provided the LSI testing and leadership coaching we received in the year leading up to our Antarctic voyage.  Both of these companies have made significant commitments to support the program and for which all of us are extremely grateful.

There is a colony of Chinstrap penguins on Hydruga Rocks.  In contrast to the Adélie penguins, the Chinstraps seemed to be a little more reserved, though it may just be because there weren’t as many of them in this location.

The next 3 pictures were taken from the spot where we took our group picture.  You can see we were by a small inlet (with the ship and spectacular scenery in the background).  What’s really cool, is that there is a penguin colony on the rocks to the left and cormorants breeding on the rocks to the right.  Another great mix of black and white birds.

 

While we were organizing for the group photo, there were 2 penguins watching us like we were crazy.  Once we were done with the photo, they followed us as we broke up from our pose and they became the subject of many, many photos.  I’ll just share a few.

 

There were also a few young chicks.  I’m not sure exactly how old, but I can’t imagine more than a week as there were only a few and many penguins were still incubating eggs.

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Chinstrap chick.
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Keeping the nest warm. And yes, all of the orange in the background is penguin poop.

Of course there were other birds beside penguins in Antarctica.

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Snowy sheathbill, a connoisseur of penguin poop, so it all comes full circle.

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Making lots of noise.

Here are a couple of videos to see what they looked like in motion – at least on the ground.

 

 

 

Following the landing we worked on Visibility, had our second Cover Story Session and another session of Symposium at Sea.  While we were working, we continued our travels in the Gerlach Straight and went to Wilhemina Bay which is surrounded by the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula.  Within Wilhemina Bay, there are several smaller bays including Bandcroft Bay were we had an evening zodiac cruise.  This was a gorgeous spot and we were visited by more Humpback whales.  This was the perfect way to end the day!

 

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Humpbacks at the surface.
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And diving in unison.

 

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