Half Moon Island was our last landing during our Antarctica trip. Even before we began our excursion in Half Moon Island, the Expedition Team showed us pictures of the landing site and announced that we had immense chances of seeing Chinstrap penguins and its newly born chicks.
Half Moon Island is a 2 km long (1.2 mile), crescent-shaped island in the shadow of the picturesque mountains and glaciers of nearby Livingston Island. It is a favored expedition stop for its large chinstrap penguin rookery. Other than a short hill, walking is generally easy. The serrated and crevassed cliffs are also home to Antarctic terns, kelp gulls, snowy sheath bills, and Wilson’s storm petrels. Down towards the western end of the beach is Teniente Camara station, with its huge Argentine flags emblazoned on the orange buildings.
As excited I was, to explore the Half Moon Island, my heart was heavy knowing that this was going to be our last landing of this Antarctica trip, the continent that I dreamt of visiting as a child, the continent I loved every bit of, the continent where we were spending our baby-moon…
As with most of the other landings in Antarctica, we were welcomed by the penguins. I just can’t get enough of penguins and their sheer cuteness. I settled in the same place for over half an hour to watch the penguins’ whereabouts – the way the pregnant ones were cautiously sitting on the nests and safeguarding the eggs, the way the new penguin parents were sheltering their chicks, the way the momma penguin and the daddy penguin took turns to watch the chicks while the other one went to get food and bring more stones to “renovate” their nests.
We continued walking to the other end of the island, to see another penguin rookery – though noisy and foul-smelling, it was a fantastic place not only to capture those perfect penguin pictures, but also to watch the grey colored little chicks hanging out closely by their parents’ belly, and the parents feeding them. We even saw the sight of one penguin pooping on another one 😉
With that, we got back to our ship and ended this memorable trip to the white continent!