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Monday, January 22: Cape Lookout, Elephant Island, page 1

The ship hauled up its anchor and set sail for Cape Lookout on the other side of Elephant Island, where we would make our first actual landing in the Antarctic. I could see bergie bits floating on the water outside my stateroom window as we cruised around the island.

Humpback Whale A Humpback Whale was spotted in the water near the ship. Captain Notke steered the ship in a circle to give the passengers a good chance to see the whale. It blew and surfaced repeatedly for several minutes. As we watched for the whale from the stern of the ship we heard the crowd at the bow give a shout in unison. Geoff Green announced over the loudspeakers that the whale had just breached directly in front of the ship.

Visit the American Cetacean Society fact sheet about the Humpback Whale.

The Marine Mammal Center also has information about the Humpback Whale.

We passed a huge glacier as we neared Cape Lookout.

Glacier near Cape Lookout The old ice at the base of the glacier was deep blue in color. The blue ice was overlain by an accumulation of white snow and young ice. The top of the glacier was a maze of crevasses.

Glacier near Cape Lookout The front of the glacier was miles across and it extended well out into the harbor.

Cape Lookout

Glacier near Cape Lookout There was a glacier in every valley on the island.

Glacier near Cape Lookout The valleys were so steep that the glaciers were broken into jumbled icefalls, slowly tumbling their way down to sea level.

Suspended Glacier near Cape Lookout Glaciers were perched on the tops of the mountains, with their broken faces suspended over a few thousand feet of steep, rocky cliffs. Any ice that broke away from those glaciers had a long drop ahead of it.

Cape Lookout Cape Lookout is marked by a craggy, pyramid-shaped island separated from the shore by a narrow strait.

Cape Lookout

Cape Lookout We would land on the low spit of land at the left.

Penguin Rookery at Cape Lookout The cape is the site of another large Chinstrap Penguin rookery. The lighter slopes in this picture are stained by pink Chinstrap Penguin guano.

Zodiacs at Cape Lookout The ship's staff prepared the Zodiacs for our first landing in Antarctica.

The Zodiac brought us to shore on a narrow, cobblestone spit connecting a rock outcrop to the main island.

Glacier above Cape Lookout The expedition members kept to a narrow path alongside the rookery.

Expedition members at Cape Lookout Once again, Dad proved that he was not a slave to fashion.

Chinstrap Penguin  at Cape Lookout Chinstrap Penguins are easily distinguished by the narrow black stripe under the white face.

Background information about the Chinstrap Penguin.

Chinstrap Penguin rookery at Cape Lookout The Chinstrap Penguin rookery was thickly coated in pink penguin guano. The constant dampness supported a thick, old fish market kind of odor.

Chinstrap Penguin at Cape Lookout Dirty Chinstrap Penguins were constantly waddling into the water as clean penguins were hauling themselves onto land along the spit.

Chinstrap Penguin at Cape Lookout The air was filled with the constant display cries of male penguins looking for mates.

Hear the sound Hear the Chinstrap Penguins.

Chinstrap Penguins at Cape Lookout "I don't know. Where do you want to go for dinner?"

Chinstrap Penguin Chick at Cape Lookout Chinstrap Penguin chicks sat waiting patiently for their parents to return with food.

Chinstrap Penguin feeding its chick at Cape Lookout Chick feeding was a constant operation in the rookery. The gray chicks tickled the beaks of the adults to trigger a regurgitation of the krill stored in their crops. It was possible to see the pink, shrimp-like crustaceans come up into the mouths of the adults before the chicks reached in to grab them. Krill grow to be nearly two inches long, and large krill wouldn't look out of place on a cocktail shrimp platter.

Chinstrap Penguin Chicks at Cape Lookout The downy chicks accumulated a crust of guano on the lower parts of their bodies.

Chinstrap Penguin Chicks at Cape Lookout The Chinstrap Penguin chicks rested their heads behind their wings as they napped.

Chinstrap Penguin rookery at Cape Lookout The penguins paid scant attention to the Zodiacs cruising through the strait.

Chinstrap Penguins at Cape Lookout The flat areas near the rocky outcrop were covered in penguins. Other penguins had to climb to higher ground to find a place to raise their chicks.

Chinstrap Penguin rookery at Cape Lookout Some of them climbed several hundred feet up the slope to find their chicks.

Chinstrap Penguin rookery at Cape Lookout It must take hours for some of them to climb up to their chicks on the mountainside above the cape.

Map of the Antarctic Peninsula Map of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Next Chapter: Monday, January 22: Cape Lookout, Elephant Island, page 2

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