Stepping on Antarctica
This was my first landing on the Antarctic continent, and what an amazing landing it was. The Zodiac glided onto the rocky shore, and after taking one step in the water (I was glad I was wearing waterproof boots and pants), I was onshore among thousands of Adélie penguins. Also spotted at Brown Bluff were a few Gentoo penguins, a Chinstrap penguin, and a Brown Skua.
I could have stayed at Brown Bluff all day, watching the penguins crawl on their bellies in the snow, waddling in lines across the beach towards the water, diving into the water and swimming, and sitting on their eggs and chicks. It was like watching people in a big city go about their different activities. I had never encountered so many animals in their natural habitat at one time. Back in the U.S., you can find animals in their natural habitat, but you do not find such a big group together, with the exception of pigeons. The penguins were like pigeons being they did not fear humans, and if you stood still, they would come right up to you. The most successful way to get them to come up to you was to kneel or lay on the ground. By expedition rules, you cannot get closer than 10 feet to them unless they walked up to you.
The most surprising things I came across while at Brown Bluff were jellyfish. On the beach I found several large frozen jellyfish. I never imagined jellyfish in such a cold environment. When I thought of jellyfish, I used to think of the coast of California, but now I think of them frozen on the beach in Antarctica.
While on the beach, I enjoyed touching my first iceberg. There were many icebergs that had washed onto the beach. On the beach and in the water close to the shore were icebergs in many shades of white, blue, and green. If anyone ever tells you that Antarctica is only black and white, they are very wrong.