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Travel photo of the week – Paulet Island, Antarctica

October 21, 2010
by budgettravelsac

This week’s photo comes from Bob Berwyn of Colorado who writes for a community/aleternative news website in Summit County, Colorado.  Check out his information at  Check out Bob’s other photos at ImageKind.

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

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.

Want to submit your photo? Every week I will share your travel photos so email them to me and your photo and blog will be featured.  Include your name, photo, blog, what you liked about the photo, and a brief intro about your site.  Email me at

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. akismet-680ebe0aa09c2c94241944f092f7d8a7 permalink
    October 22, 2010 8:20 am

    wow — what a great shot. I had no desire to go there, until I got down to the tip of South America and met a bunch of people coming back. And saw there photos. MUST do for me now!

  2. October 22, 2010 8:22 am

    WOW – some photo, and I’m sure some location too. Would love to see this shot without the people though. Maybe even a HDR shot.

  3. October 22, 2010 12:23 pm

    Aaaand Antarctica is still at the top of my dream trip list. Machu Picchu was edging up, but this photo clinches it: Antarctica is still #1. Beautiful!

  4. October 22, 2010 11:21 pm

    this photo is awesome, i want to go to antarctica

  5. October 23, 2010 11:18 am

    I LOVE this photo! It makes me want to go even more!

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