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Archive for 'Antarctica'

Antarctic Icebergs

Icebergs are chunks of ice that have calved off glaciers and ice shelves. They vary in size from small to large enough to sink a ship. The Titanic, for example.

New icebergs are white while the older ones are blue or sometimes green. An iceberg comprises fresh snow and compressed ice. The light hits the iceberg particles and bubbles and is bent and scattered. If there are lots of bubbles, all the light scatters before it gets absorbed. If there are no or few bubbles, the red light gets absorbed and the blue light escapes the iceberg, making us see a blue iceberg.

During our time in Antarctica, we saw lots of icebergs, some of which dwarfed our ship. We zipped around some of the icebergs in zodiacs to get up-close views of them. The blue ones were my favorites.

Our Ship and Iceberg

Le Soleal, our ship, is dwarfed by this beautiful iceberg, and they can be much bigger!

Blue Iceberg

A beautiful blue iceberg.

Zodiac and Iceberg

We did a zodiac trip around the icebergs and checked out the wildlife and birds that lazed on the different icebergs.

Blue Iceberg

Another blue iceberg.

Lazing Seal

Some of the local fauna lazing on one of the smaller icebergs.

Champagne on the Zodiacs

We finished our zodiac tour around the icebergs with a glass of French champagne. The perfect end!

A Visit to Grytviken, South Georgia

The island of South Georgia was first discovered in 1675. It was named Roche after Anthony de la Roché, the ship’s commander who found the island. In 1775 Captain Cook made the first landing, renamed the island after King George III, and it subsequently became a British territory.

The first whaling station was founded in Grytviken in 1904 by Norwegian Carl Anton Larsen. Grytviken was one of seven whaling stations on the island and the largest. During the summer months, from October to March, up to 300 men worked at the station.

By 1960 whalers had depleted the area of whales, and the station became unviable. Grytviken closed in 1964. Much of the equipment and several ships still lie where they were left.

These days, Grytviken is a popular stop for cruise ships. There is a museum, a shop, and a post office, and the cemetery here is the last resting place of the famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Rusted ships at Grytviken

Old Rusted Ships.

Equipment for the Processing of Whale Blubber

Old Storage Tanks

Some of the Local Residents

View of Settlement

View of Grytviken Settlement and the Locals

A view looking back toward Grytviken with some of the locals.

Shackleton's Grave

Frank Wild

Sir Ernest Shackleton and Frank Wild, his friend, are both buried in the Grytviken cemetery.

Shop and Post Office

The shop and post office do a brisk trade with the tourists.

The Church

The church.

Shelley

A pic of me exploring the area beyond Grytviken. As you can see it’s very barren and craggy. I loved our visit to Grytviken, and it turned out to be an inspiring one, because I used the settlement as the setting for my recent release. While it’s difficult to travel to South Georgia, try an armchair visit and check out Snow Moon Dragon today!

Meet the King Penguin: Ten Facts About the King Penguin

One of the things I was most looking forward to seeing when we visited the Antarctica region was the penguins. Penguins are fascinating birds, and I never tired of seeing them or watching their antics.

A king Penguin Colony

Facts about King Penguins

1. They’re the second-largest species of penguin.

Close Up of a King Penguin

2. They weigh up to 15kg and grow to around 3.1 feet in height.

3. It’s estimated there are around 2 million breeding pairs, but some say there are far more than this.

King Penguins on the Beach

4. The largest colony is found on the island of South Georgia, although they also live in Antarctica and on the south coast of Argentina.

5. King penguins eat fish and squid.

6. Penguins have two chicks every three years, and their varied breeding season means that there are always a few chicks within a colony.

A King Penguin Chick

7. The penguin chicks have wooly brown coats before they molt and the adult feathers grow. Early explorers thought they were a different species of penguin.

King Penguin chicks and adults in the background

8. King penguins don’t make nests but carry their eggs around in a brood patch.

9. King penguins will change partners for each breeding season.

10. Leopard seals hunt the adult penguins while the skua bird attacks both the eggs and chicks.

Source: Cool Antarctica

King Penguins on South Georgia

Some of the many King penguins on one of South Georgia’s beaches.

Snow Moon Dragon, book 4 in the Dragon Investigators series, is coming out soon. Snow Moon Dragon is set on South Georgia and King penguins are mentioned a time or two.