Paulet Island & Cockburn Island

Jan 10, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer


Paulet Island is home to a colony of an estimated 100,000 breeding pairs of Adélie penguins, an amazing sight to behold. It’s also the site of a historic hut used for winter shelter during the Nordenskjöld 1901-04 Swedish Antarctic expedition. Seaman Ole Wennersgaard died during that winter and was buried on Paulet Island. His grave marker remains close to the hut.

It was a few hours from Paulet Island to Cockburn for our afternoon operations. As we sailed, we came across a blue whale! Our captain said this was the first time he’d seen a blue whale this far into the Weddell Sea—a truly amazing statement from someone so experienced in Antarctica. The whale, unbothered, swam slowly along beside us before we broke away to continue toward our next destination.

Cockburn offered the chance for a Zodiac cruise and a short hike along the shore, where we spotted a large colony of blue-eyed shags. The nesting seabirds came and went as we walked among Adélie penguins, giving way to their penguin highways. A truly wonderful day!

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About the Author

Amy Malkoski

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Amy was raised near Cape Cod in coastal Marion, Massachusetts, and her relationship with the ocean and nature has always been an active one. Her parents, avid divers and marine biologists, introduced her to the underwater world when she was very young and she grew up participating in as many water-related activities as possible. Amy spent her summers sailing and exploring intertidal areas of Buzzards Bay. At age 12 she became a certified diver and is now a divemaster with the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI). In high school her passion for nature and art developed into a love of photography, using the medium to share her explorations with others. 

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