The Antarctic is the reason life continues to exist on the Earth. As the extremely cold water sinks and flows toward the equator, it acts as a giant pump, refreshing the oceans of the world with nutrients. A large portion of the ocean's biomass and fresh water are found on and around the Antarctic continent.

The local inhabitants are quite unique and if you are lucky you might see them doing some amazing things. Orca whales are particularly playful and curious. They seem to be attracted to the sound of the ship, and when they arrive to discover there is nothing to eat, begin looking around. The technique they use of rising vertically to eyeball a potential meal is called spyhopping.

Orcas seen from the air cruising the ice edge.

The whales like the spot behind the ship as a place to come up for air.

Most of the time the Orcas travel in family packs.

This ice slug (Weddell Seal) is taking in the 24 hour sunshine.
Seals abound above the ice, spending the summer months feeding on fish and getting fat on the ice. We saw them near the channel cut by the ship and next to several large cracks. The seals don't seem to be afraid of anything, and considering they have no enemies, that comes as no surprise.

Another seemingly worthless creature is the skua, which is the name of the local scavenging bird. They are seagulls with an attitude. If you happen to be walking by an area with skuas, the trick to surviving a dive-bomb attack is to hold your hand above your head. The birds are very territorial, but since there is no way to know exactly what the skua considers its territory, the best thing I found to do is stay away from them. They are nasty birds.

This Emperor penguin was seen all alone.

The infamous Skua - stay clear or be attacked!
Now on to the page you have all been waiting for, the Adelie Penguins! They are really funny. Here is Their Page.

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Page posted 01/26/2002