What a perfect time of year to be exploring Antarctica and South Georgia – the chicks are everywhere! Don’t get too excited now fellas… I’m talking about baby birdies! While some are more obvious than others, it can actually be quite a challenge pointing out a baby penguin nestled under its parent’s belly fold in a colony of thousands of penguins, but once you catch sight of that little guy, it will light up your world! They are just the cutest, cuddliest looking things on the face of the earth. Beware, once you see a penguin chick, you may be pulled out of the airport security line for illegally trying to smuggle one in your suitcase. You’ve been warned! Not only are there thousands of penguin chicks abound, but with a little luck (and a LOT more effort -- involving scampering through mud pits, weaving through angry seals, dodging giant petrels that will puke on you for getting too close to their nest, tripping over your clunky boots over an obstacle course of tall grasses while weaving through a slippery, dirty mountain slope to gain access to the tussock grass hillsides) one can also find baby albatross scattered around the island, another incredible sight.
Now…I may have a biased opinion here. These may have been the cutest chicks in the world simply because of the effort it took to get a close look at them (I was a sloppy mess by the time I made it to their nests, covered in mud and dirt and grime) but it was definitely a special experience for me. Not sure who was more curious in the other at first glance, me – this big brown muddy mess of a person staring at this chick I had hiked so arduously to get a peek at, or it – this cute cuddly white fluffball sitting all cozy and clean in its nest wondering what this beast was that stumbled upon it. Either way, we had a great time getting to know each other over the next five minutes, as I stood there doing what I do best (taking photos) and it sat there doing what it does best (bobbing its head up and down opening its mouth waiting for me to regurgitate a big juicy meal of partially digested fish down its gullet).
And that’s a wrap for South Georgia! Next stop, the Falkland Islands!