Paulet Island

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  • Can't believe it's really covered with guano. That must be stinky.

    HikeSkiBike, 5 years ago | Flag
  • Can't believe it's really covered with guano. That must be stinky.

    HikeSkiBike, 5 years ago | Flag
  • Good photograph and very informative description with helpful information.

    Ted81, 5 years ago | Flag
  • Good photograph and very informative description with helpful information.

    Ted81, 5 years ago | Flag
  • Good composition, with the silhouettes of people and animals in the foreground and interesting lighting on the water and bergs.

    GoFar, 5 years ago | Flag
Uploaded By: bberwyn
5 years ago
Level: SuperMember
Points: 24008
Description:

Sharing the Paulet Island beach with a solitary skua and a fur seal, three guides from the M/V Professor Molchanof stand ankle-deep in pink penguin guano. A pair of Zodiacs cruise through a maze of icebergs back to the ship, just visible in the distance. The Dutch guides had wanted to climb to the summit of the volcanic island, but Russian Captain Nikolai Parfenyuk was concerned about ice closing in, so he ordered the landing party back to the ship.

The Gentoo penguin colony was gone, but the pungent guano was a reminder of their recent presence. Still, the beach was alive with fur seals, blue-eyed shags (the only member of the Cormorant family to range into Antarctica), and even a few ice-loving Adelie penguins.

During the landing, we visited the remains of an old stone hut built by Swedish and Norwegian explorers in the early 1900s after their ship was crushed by ice. Twenty men from the Nordenskold expedition spent a long winter on the island eating penguins before being rescued by an Argentine boat the following summer. Only one man died during the winter. His grave, marked by a plain wooden cross and a mound of rocks, is still evident on the beach.

Our voyage to Antarctica through the Weddell Sea and around the Antarctic Peninsula aboard the Molchanov was in late February and early March 2009. The well-led trip featured landings and hikes every day, including a spectacular walk over a glacier and along the rim of the Deception Island caldera to visit a huge chinstrap penguin colony.

On the 52-passenger Molchanov, it was easy to get to know fellow passengers and the guides, as well as the friendly Russian crew. Leigh and I highly recommend ship. We organized our trip through Oceanwide Expeditions, online at ://www.oceanwide-expeditions.com/.

Several passengers on our trip were able to book last-minute passage aboard the Molchanov in Ushuaia, Argentina, just a few days in advance at a significant discount. Of course, there are no guarantees, but several tour operators in Ushuaia said that, late in the season, there often are last-minute berths available.

Read more about the trip at this Budget Travel journal: http://mybt.budgettravel.com/_Antarctic-adventure/blog/219657/21864.html.

 

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