The main attraction at Gould Bay – in fact the only reason the Gould Bay camp exists – is a large emperor penguin colony. On my first visit I counted just under 6300 live chicks, and estimated that there would have been about 7500 breeding pairs at the start ofRead more

On my second visit to the Gould Bay emperor penguin colony, I flew there in a Basler DC3T aircraft, and returned to Union Glacier in a de Havilland DH6 Twin Otter. These are the predominant fixed-wing aircraft used for travel within Antarctica, and are the only aircraft used by ANIRead more

Union Glacier camp was bulging at the seams in mid-November, with an Ilyushin delivering 54 marathon runners (2 of whom pulled out before the event), a few support staff and organisers, and a Chinese film crew. The annual Antarctic Ice Marathon has become big business, with all available places bookedRead more

It is a long-established Antarctic fact that the southernmost penguin colony on the planet is at Cape Royds, on the west side of Ross Island, near McMurdo Station and Scott Base. Slightly anomalously, this is an Adélie penguin colony, being a few minutes further south than the ‘southernmost’ emperor penguinRead more

Emperor penguins are penguins of superlatives – largest, deepest diving, able-to-withstand-the-coldest-temperatures etc. But one rarely-mentioned fact is that they are the most curious penguin, as in possessing the strongest innate curiosity. This year’s ‘Emp camp’ at Gould Bay was established 2.3 km from the nearest corner of the colony, toRead more

At the height of summer the sun does not set at Union Glacier. In mid-November it’s bright ‘daylight’ throughout the night, but the sun does disappear for a couple of hours in the early morning (2-4 am) when it dips behind nearby Mt Rossman. This is when the mercury dipsRead more

The cavernous interior of the Ilyushin-76 jet was crammed with cargo, including a hulking 6-wheel drive truck that loomed over the passenger space at the front. There were 2 rows of fairly typical aircraft passenger seats at the front that were reserved for the guests (all seven of whom areRead more