Monday, December 29, 2008

The Littlest Penguin

We have seen and done many great things over the last 2 days. Yesterday was Port Lockroy, former British Base, turned museum (open for 4 months of the year). Today we were at Deception Island, so named as many ships missed the small entrance into the bay of the donut shaped island. It is also an active volcano. We hiked to a volcanic crater here. Later we went for an Antarctic ocean dip in an area where there is geothermal activity which makes about 1.5 metres of the shore warmish as it bubbles up through the sand. It made for a cute picture of me in my swim suit and fluffy fake fur hat and Jason in is swim shorts.

We also visited a huge colony of Chinstrap Penguins numbering around 250,000 with chicks. They take up a huge space from the shore up the cliffs, and it can be a dangerous world for a penguin. This is where I met the little one I call “The Littlest Penguin.” It was a heartbreaking sight. A little tiny baby penguin, covered in downy feathers, abandoned on a penguin path. With wounds on his back, perhaps from a predatory sea bird, struggling to breath and flapping his little flipper.  But there was nothing I could do, and believe me I racked my brains to come up with a solution for this little soul’s suffering. I could not identify his parents, nor would they necessarily take him back in this condition. And with the huge penguin population it is a reality that this occurs. I can only hope he passes away quickly and perhaps fills the belly of some other creature trying to survive. I cried my eyes out for some time.

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