Friday, January 9, 2009

Look Ma, no heads!

I think the top half of this picture was the very first "Photo of the Week" I posted on this blog: A gentoo penguin (left) and an Adelie penguin (right) just emerging from a nice swim. What I didn't include was the shot I took immediately afterwards, when both penguins decided to take an after-bath preen at the same time. It reminds me of how cats groom themselves in a similar position after doing something embarrassing. It's like these two caught themselves looking at each other, then were embarrassed into hiding their heads. It's one of my favorite pictures from the whole Antarctica trip.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Elephant Seals

On our second day of cruising the Antarctic peninsula, we stopped at Neko Bay, where we found these elephant seals among a colony of gentoo penguins. These are likely immature males, practicing their fighting skills against each other. Their loud, burping barks made it sound like Thanksgiving at my folks' house.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

King Penguin

During our lectures while sailing across the Drake Passage, our wildlife expert told us we would likely only see three kinds of penguins: chinstrap, gentoo, and Adelie. Others weren't really native to the area. At our first Antarctic stop on Aitcho Island, however, we found this resplendent king penguin all by his lonesome, looking pretty lost. He most likely got caught in a southern current and landed here. He was the only one we saw all trip, a lucky sign that presaged a great trip.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Word Nerd Sez: H is for ...


First of all, I've got a deadline staring me in the face, so I have to take a little break from writing in this blog. So I like this word over "interruption" or "break," because it implies I'll be back. (And I will be back soon.)

Second, I like this word because of one of its alternate meanings: "the occurrence of two vowel sounds without pause or intervening consonantal sound," like in the words reality, naive, or ... hiatus.

Last, I love the etymology of the word: from the Latin hiare, which according to the Webster's site means "yawn." That's something I do a lot of, especially in days like today, when I'm trying to adjust to school schedule after enjoying vacation hours.

But don't worry, I won't ignore the blog entirely. Instead of writing, I'll be posting some of my favorite wildlife pictures from my Antarctica trip last year. It was exactly one year ago today we began our trip back from the Antarctic peninsula, and while at sea we saw a lot of sea birds like this one, a giant petrel I was lucky enough to snap mid-flight. Enjoy the pretty pictures, I'll be back writing soon.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Photo of the Week--12/29/08

I like this picture of Nyhavn ("New Harbor") in Copenhagen for all the bright colors: the buildings, the Danish flags, the incredible June sky, the many many tourists. It's a nice reminder right now that even cold places get sunny and beautiful in summer!