Antarctica Adventure - 2002

Emperor takes on this duty. So with the kings, each sex has a slit-like opening on the lower pelvis which can be controlled muscularly by the bird. So the incubating opens the curtain and let the egg further out onto his feet and the receiving bird opens the slit and with their beaks, they roll the egg onto the other set of feet and then into that slit for incubation. This goes on for about 2 months until the chick is ready to hatch. It remains in that situation until it is fully down-covered and then it emerges and enters the kindergarten. King penguin calls are interesting too. The males trumpet in a three-syllable cry and the females in two. The chicks burble to each other and whistle to the adults. It’s amazing that the parents recognize each other by the cries and that the babies and parents know one another through these sounds as well—to our ears it all sounds exactly the same. We can distinguish adult from chick sounds but that is all the differentiation our ears permit. We had a real concert at Gold Harbor, with the penguins singing, the elephant seals conducting “intestinal warfare,” the fur seals arfing, barking, and hissing, and the many seabirds screeching, crying into the wind, and calling. The noise on the beach was deafening but wondrous in its proof of the resilience and persistence of life without any human intervention! Day 15 Yesterday was so perfect that we wouldn’t have dared to ask for the same again and we didn’t get it. The day dawned rainy and overcast but still relatively warm. We actually were hot in our parkas today with temps in the 50s. Our night anchored in Gold Harbor was so quiet that we slept like the elephant seals just gorked out after the riotous nights before.

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