Day 7 - The W-Ortelius Penguin and the W-factor for Antarctic cuteness
track: Marguerite Bay and Lagoon Island
notes by the Oceanwide expedition team from
the Ortelius official logbook
Position: 67°49.6’S, 068°50.6’W
Wind: NNE 9
Air Temperature: +1
travel log per day by Jurci Travel
Antarctica is the ‘White Continent’ and today we got a good taste of that. Waking up the outdoor decks where closed – to high waves, fierce wind and slippery. Mid-morning there was SNOW!!! So the children were let outside to play : )
In the afternoon it cleared just enough to do a Zodiac exploration and landing. In the competition spirit of the day, the W-factor for Antarctic animal cuteness was bench marked, leading to interesting conclusions you can read at 'Antarctic Facts'.
Highlights of the day
SNOW!!!! Thick pack of SNOW on the decks – which opened up to be outside to give the passengers a moment of fresh air. We benefitted right away – deck 7 turned out to be the children’s playground…
With combined creative efforts, we decided to let Antarctica inspire us. So Caroline was the Chef for the wings & feet, Cissy taking care of the back tail and head and Jurgen went to the kitchen for some essential vegetables. Ta-Ta-Da, We Proudly Present: the new created Penguin specie: The W-Ortelius* Penguin!
* In Dutch the word for carrot is ‘ Wortel’
Since we were in the creative mode, we tweaked the French ‘Jeu de Boules’ into ‘Snow Jeu de Boules’. And just before lunch time, there was even time for an old fashioned game: Snow ball fight “All against Jurgen now”, was enjoyable exercise, to get you warm.
Seen the weather conditions, we kinda expected not to leave the ship today. Much to our surprise; in the afternoon it cleared enough to do a Zodiac-with-landing expedition!
So ‘Layered-Up-To-The-Max’, of we were to Lagoon Island, where a refugee shelter hut is based. This shore is home to a hurdle of Elephants Seals. Huge, Sluggish, Blubberish animals that, quote expedition leader Lynn,“Sound and Smell like bad pluming work, but we love them anyways”.
The Lagoon Island was also for the crew of Ortelius a new landing site. This area is so full with special characteristics, that probably next year it will be declared an ‘ASPA: an Antarctic Special Protected Area’. Making it extra special we got to see it before it gets closed down for tourist landings.
Ice, Ice, Ice and Seals - Part of the landing was a Zodiac expedition, up close to impressive icebergs, ice blocks and ice plateaus with the most adorable seals on it!
Thank you Caroline for immortalize us with our beloved W-Ortelius,Penguin before it melted down.
Sava and the hospitality team - thanks for the carrot and olives essential cooperation!
Antarctica Fun Fact - Penguins can fly?
In a way one would say the Cormorants combines the best of several worlds – They are about the size of a penguin, and with their black-and-white feathers, they do look like a penguin. They love the water as well; they can dive till 45 meters deep in the Antarctic icy waters to fish for fishy-food and play with the penguins.
The Adélie penguin. the Cormorants neighbors at the Lagoon Island – are not impressed by a 45 meters deep dive of the fake penguin. The Adélie’s dive up to 175 meter.
Cormorants can swim well, which would come in handy to escape from the vicious teeth of a seal that thinks you are a nice penguin-snack. And as Cormorant, when you jump on land – you have the extra feature compared to a penguin – you can actually FLY!!!!
So cormorants are having great fun, pulling practical jokes on tourists at Antarctica. Because for an instant, you are a second confused- WOW! A Flying Penguin...!
However, there is a catch.
As, when they are quite alike, why we adore Penguins more than Cormorants?
Well, you dear Cormorant: Yes, you look like a Penguin, can dive, swim and fly. But …sorry, you miss the X-Factor.
Or actually the W-factor: the signature cute Wobbly Penguin walk…
So, Penguins are clearly the Unbeatable Most Cute animals at Antarctica.
Runner up? Easy: As seals, among other cuteness criteria, are wobbling their way on the icy shores - they are second in the Antarctic cuteness ranking.