Penguins - some of the world's most fascinating animals!
Gun Von Krusenstierna has a great love for both animals and nature, but perhaps it is still especially the penguins that are closest to her heart. Her fascination with these charming creatures has taken her on most expeditions to the southern hemisphere's coldest waters in order to slowly but surely bend from species to species. Below you can read a text written by her, about some of her penguin adventures.
That I first traveled to the Arctic and then Antarctica was a stroke of luck. Enough because I like polar bears, but then it is a matter of one, two or a few pieces and at a proper distance. But when you come down to Antarctica, the conditions are completely different. In South Georgia in particular, there are huge numbers of penguins, and now we are not talking about ten or twenty, but among other things three colonies with over a quarter of a million penguins or more in each. Absolutely overwhelming, and with the long landings, it can feel like you are almost sitting on their lap and can just enjoy. Especially when it came to the woolly, cute, brown king penguin cubs, they just wanted to hug the whole pile.
We are told to keep a distance of five meters, but it is difficult! Nor do these rules of conduct seem to have been translated into penguin, for there are always some tough ones among these woolly tufts who whistle and wave their wing pads that come very close to you. At one point, one of the crew lay down on the ground and within five minutes he had five brown woolen tufts on his back - he later said that it had tickled him enormously and that he had to fight not to move. Back on the ship, we received strict orders from the expedition leader that he did not want to see a single passenger lying flat on the ground during the next landing! The last disembarkation in South Georgia we did in Gold Bay - the first Zodiac left at 04:10, I managed the second. On a very narrow strip of beach we met lots of penguins, mainly king penguins.
Att sedan bara sitta och betrakta dessa pingviner är helt fascinerande. Bakifrån ser de verkligen alla ut att ha ”gällivarehäng” när de vaggar fram. Men underskatta aldrig en pingvin, de är otroligt smarta! När de bygger sina bon av stenar, där de sen ska ligga och ruva, är de inte sena att sno från grannen på sina outtröttliga vandringar efter stenar – de tar normalt bara en sten i näbben varje gång. På den här resan hade vi också den otroliga turen att pricka in den så kallade ”pingvinmarschen” på Cuverville Island, Antarktiska halvön, vilken äger rum en gång om året och bara under ett par timmar – en av PolarQuest mest erfarna guider som rest i Arktis och Antarktis i 25 år upplevde detta nu för första gången medan jag prickade in det på min första resa dit ner – inte undra på att jag blivit så betagen i dessa varelser. Vi blev sittande i ungefär en och en halv timme medan pingvinerna rundade oss i sin jakt på en plats där de kunde bygga sina bon. Fem till sex i bredd men ibland var det några som tröttnade och stack därifrån. En mäktig och helt oförglömlig upplevelse.
But the crowning achievement of my penguin adventures was probably when I got the opportunity to camp with the emperor penguins with their woolly, gray cubs in Gould Bay on the Antarctic mainland (8). There are 18 different species of penguins and I have ticked 13 or 14 of them (the Humboldt penguin is perhaps a bit cheating - I saw it at a zoo in Ålesund, Norway), of which three or four endemic species originate from my recent trip among the sub-Antarctic islands last year. This was a pick but I continue my quest to see more of these amazing animals!