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The Penguin People of Antarctica

Updated on December 7, 2015
Gentoo Penguins in Antarctica
Gentoo Penguins in Antarctica

Do You Love Penguins?

Are you fascinated by the penguins of the Antarctic Peninsula -- gentoos, adelaides and chinstraps? You will find some factual information here, plus photos. For a bit of whimsey, you can read about the legend of the penguin people, look at some pictures and learn some fun facts about our favorite bird.

In late November of 2004, I celebrated a landmark birthday. To celebrate, I visited Antarctica and mingled with penguins!

There's a lot to love about Antarctica, but for me, the penguins are Number One on the list. I travelled with Journeys International, an American adventure tour company.

We set sail from Ushuaia in Argentina, sailed along the Beagle Channel where Charles Darwin worked and studied, crossed the wild and wonderful Drake Passage then meandered up and down the Antarctica Peninsula. We went ashore seven times in little rubber zodiacs.

The penguin population consisted of gentoos, adelaides and chinstraps. These guys are not the big Emperor Penguins that you hear so much about. The Emperor's are located elsewhere in Antarctica.

I was also able to spend a few days in Ushuaia, where I visited the lovely Tierra del Fuego, surely one of Patagonia's loveliest of parks.

Unless otherwise stated, all photo credits are to June Campbell.

Poll: What's Your Penguin Experience?

What experience do you have with penguins?

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Penguin Pictures

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Penguins Strolling Through GuanoPenguins at a Scientific Research CampTourist and Penguin Staring at Each OtherPenguin Walking in the SnowDirty Penguin in Need of a BathGentoo Penguin Navigating the RocksPenguin Rookeries in the SnowPenguins Walking Through GuanoPenguins Standing and Laying AroundPenguins Observing Visitors Arriving by Zodiac
Penguins Strolling Through Guano
Penguins Strolling Through Guano
Penguins at a Scientific Research Camp
Penguins at a Scientific Research Camp
Tourist and Penguin Staring at Each Other
Tourist and Penguin Staring at Each Other
Penguin Walking in the Snow
Penguin Walking in the Snow
Dirty Penguin in Need of a Bath
Dirty Penguin in Need of a Bath
Gentoo Penguin Navigating the Rocks
Gentoo Penguin Navigating the Rocks
Penguin Rookeries in the Snow
Penguin Rookeries in the Snow
Penguins Walking Through Guano
Penguins Walking Through Guano
Penguins Standing and Laying Around
Penguins Standing and Laying Around
Penguins Observing Visitors Arriving by Zodiac
Penguins Observing Visitors Arriving by Zodiac

Do you know why penguins have red bellies in some of the pictures?

Its because they scoot along in the snow on their bellies. The snow is often covered with their guano. The guano is red because penguins eat krill.

Yes, they've been scooting in poop!

Going for a swim in the ocean cleans them up, but not for long!

Amazon Spotlight

The Legend of the Penguin People

As told to me by a fellow traveler

This is a story that was told me me by the Penguin People. This is what they said: Long years ago, when the creator fashioned the earth and sky, he gave the seas to the oceans, the land to the rocks and the air he gave to the winds. Once he had peopled the lands with animals and created the first plants and trees, he called the rocks and the winds and the seas to him and asked them if they wanted anything.

They paused for awhile and then asked him for a land of their own to which no animal or bird or fish might come without their permission. And the creator nodded and out of the rocks he fashioned a great continent which he placed at one end of the earth and around it he placed the sea like a girdle. And he told the winds that they could blow and protect the land and the seas could roar. And he placed great sheets of ice on the land as a coat.

For long years, no bird or beast came to the land. One day a bird, tired and bedraggled, foughts its way across the seas and came finally to the land of Antarctica. As he lay there on the brink of death, the wind whispered in his ear and asked him if he would be his messenger and pass messages from the land to the sea. The bird agreed but asked for changes, for otherwise, "I shall die on this land."

And so the wind gave him a thick coat, white on the front for the ice and black behind for the rocks. and he made his wings into flippers that he would fly through the sea when once he flew through the air. And this was the first penguin, a bird six feet in size, the father of all the penguins.

And still they pass from the land to the sea, taking messages between the winds and the rocks and the sea.

10 Things You Didn't Know About Penguins

The truth about penguins! Exposed!

1. Penguins Don't Give a Damn About You.

Penguins are neither friendly nor unfriendly. They will approach you not because they are curious or interested, but because they want to walk where you are standing. I saw penguins walk over people's feet without giving the human a glance.

2. Penguins are Noisy.

Penguins trumpet. They trumpet a lot. A penguin rookery is like what I imagine a rave must sound like.

3. Penguins Mate for the Season.

Like most humans, penguins choose a mate to help them reproduce and to raise the progeny to maturity. Also like some humans, unattached penguins are likely to hit on some other guy's woman if he thinks he can get away with it.

4. Mom and Dad Penguins Share the Parenting.

The male and female take turns sitting on the eggs while the other goes out to hunt food.

5. Penguins Practice Tough Love.

It's a harsh world out there and only the fittest survive. One breed of penguins typically lays two eggs and attempts to hatch two chicks. The parent penguins provide food for the chicks. The strongest chick typically gets dinner, leaving the weaker one to starve.

6. Penguins Stink.

They are birds and they don't fly. Like all birds, they leave droppings in their rookeries. What do you suppose a rookery smells like? I can tell you. Bad. Very bad.

7. Penguins Scoot Along on their Bellies.

Penguins can walk, but they have little short legs and they sort of waddle along slowly. The preferred means of transportation is to scoot along on their bellies in the slippery snow and ice. They can do this remarkably quickly. It almost looks as if they are swimming on land.

8. Penguins Fight Incessantly.

Peaceful? No way. Just in pictures. In real life, they fight incessantly. They fight over the best rocks. They try to steal one another's nests, and as I said before, they aren't shy about coming on to another one's lady friend. Its like the wild west out there.

9. Penguins Build Nests Out of Rocks

They spend all day looking for just the right rock to use for nest building. To the uninformed eye, one rock looks just like the next, but not to a penguin, apparently.

10. Penguins Bray Like Donkeys

The trumpeting sound I mentioned earlier resembles a braying donkey. Imagine hundreds of donkeys living together and braying. That is what its like in a penguin rookery.


© 2007 June Campbell

Leave Messages for the Penguin People

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    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      What a wonderful trip that must have been! Enjoyed this so much!

    • EMangl profile image

      EMangl 

      6 years ago

      too bad that no images show up

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      6 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @georgeac lm: If you get a chance, you won't regret going. It's awesome. Thanks for visiting.

    • georgeac lm profile image

      georgeac lm 

      6 years ago

      Wow, it is very inspiring that you visited Antarctica. One more for the bucket list.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      6 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @InnaTsv: Thanks. I wish I could go back again.

    • InnaTsv profile image

      InnaTsv 

      6 years ago

      I so envy you! (in a good way, of course))) Great lens.

    • FunMoneyBusiness profile image

      Sharyn Read 

      6 years ago from ... either in the kitchen or at my laptop...

      What a beautiful experience and a dream come true - thank you for sharing, I enjoyed every minute of it!

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      6 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @WriterJanis2: It was indeed a dream vacation for me.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 

      6 years ago

      What a trip! Blessed!

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      6 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @MelonyVaughan: Thank you.

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 

      6 years ago

      What a beautiful lens!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      7 years ago from Colorado

      This would be a dream trip for me, too. Antarctica has been at the top of my list for a few years now. Such compelling creatures... penguins. I find them endlessly fascinating. Thanks for sharing your experience. Appreciated!

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @norma-holt: Thank you!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 

      7 years ago

      Nice lens on an unusual subject. Love penquins *-*Blessed*-* and featured on Angel Blessings for Dogs on Squidoo - Other pets

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @anonymous: Well, its not about hockey but I'm glad you discovered this lens and found another type of penguin! LOL

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      Not sure why, but was looking for information about the "Pittsburgh Penguins" (NHL hockey team) lol! Seriously, your site sure change my opinions on penguins!

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @tvyps: Oh yes, I'm certain they do. At the holiday season they wear red cummerbunds as well.

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 

      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Interesting info about penguins in Antarctica....but do you know if penguins in Tennessee wear Tuxedos? Ha!

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @JJNW: Oh yes. Close enough that they walked over my feet if I stood still. Close enough that I sat on a rock covered with frozen brown stuff, and then the sun came out and the frozen stuff melted and I realized that I was sitting in guano.

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 

      7 years ago from USA

      Wow, I am so impressed to hear you visited Antarctica and mingled with penguins! VERY cool! LOL on the smelly part! I guess that means you got REALLY close!

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @julieannbrady: The cutest creatures ever! Sadly, they do not smell as good as they look.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 

      8 years ago

      OMG, penguins are just so totally cute! Hello Penguin People of the world!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      8 years ago

      nice lens. thank you

      I book marked your main web page for personal reference.

      .....

      3d lcd tv | Discount Wheels | Buy Laptops | Buy Cameras | Clothing Store

    • frances lm profile image

      frances lm 

      8 years ago

      Lucky you to visit Antarctica. I especially liked the 10 things. I didn't know any of them.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @redflea13 lm: I suppose any wild creature will bite if stressed or in captivity. Yes, they are fun to watch! Thanks so much for commenting.

    • redflea13 lm profile image

      redflea13 lm 

      8 years ago

      A friend of mine works at a zoo with penguins. She told me they bite. But they are fun to watch.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @LadyFlashman: Thanks! It was certainly the highpoint of my life, especially on an expedition ship like the one I was on.

    • LadyFlashman profile image

      LadyFlashman 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      Wonderful photos, I would love to visit Antarctica! It looks like such a fascinating place, and of course the penguins are just wonderful. Great lens!

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 

      8 years ago

      Loved the legend of the Penguin People, great lens!! :)

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @Nochipra: Stuffed penguins are fun too! And undoubtedly they smell better than the real ones.

    • Nochipra profile image

      Nochipra 

      8 years ago

      Great lens! Thanks for sharing your experience. My boyfriend collects penguin figures and stuffed ones. I usually get him one ever year for Christmas

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @evelynsaenz1: Hi Evelyn, thanks for visiting. Re the seas-- to reach Antarctica from Argentina, the ship must cross the Drake Passage. The Drake is said to be the most violent sea on earth on which ships can sail. We we lucky both ways, in that it was less wild than usual. However, once you reach Antarctica, the seas are quite peaceful, especially during the summer time.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      8 years ago from Royalton

      What a wonderful trip to Antarctica! Wow! I would love to see the penguins there but aren't the seas very violent there? I would think that that part of the journey would have been terrifying.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      How wonderful, visiting Antarctica. That must have been just amazing.

    • eccles1 profile image

      eccles1 

      9 years ago

      I love Penguins and Antarctica looks beautiful I love the movie March of the Penguins!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      9 years ago

      A trip of your lifetime, so glad you fulfilled it. Great and interesting lens. Thanks.

      Debra

    • WritingforYourW profile image

      WritingforYourW 

      10 years ago

      lol at "penguins stink" :)

      Love your pictures and information here!

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 

      10 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      What a wonderful trip; gotta love penguins and puffins too.

    • profile image

      Marc3ll 

      11 years ago

      Interesting stuff :) Love the uniqueness of these animals. I luv to read about Emperor Penguins. There is something different about them from the rest of other species of penguin. Overall, good lens. Give you 5'S

    • CliveAnderson LM profile image

      CliveAnderson LM 

      11 years ago

      I would certainly say you know your stuff when it comes to Penguins. I suppose up until now I never really gave them a lot of thought but you have opened up a whole new window. Thank You. 5 stars... Clive Anderson.

    • profile image

      TexasSkye 

      11 years ago

      Very nice lens, sounds like you had a great time. Stars coming your way.

    • Classic LM profile image

      Classic LM 

      11 years ago

      I have just lens-rolled you with my Albatross lens. Have a great evening!

    • Classic LM profile image

      Classic LM 

      11 years ago

      Hello! Great lens, I gave you 5*s! Warm welcome to my groups, Nature and Environment! If you have time, please rate my lens Richard Gere. Thank you! Keep the great lenses coming!

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