J J at St. Andrews Bay in King Penguin Rookery, South Georgia
I am a friendly person. The wave is a signature that I discovered quite by accident while reviewing thousand of photos. I find this person in all kinds of gear, all over the world - waving hello!
There are two places on the expedition ships to watch the Antarctica world, the bridge and the main deck at the bow. Icebreakers do not have railings as such but high gunnels to deflect the often very rough seas one find in the southern and northern oceans. The bow deck is a great place to watch the wildlife that seems attracted to the moving ship and in my case to get pictures of ice formations for future paintings.
Most penguins seem mildly curious about us. It is easy to make statements about penguins that gives them human attributes and makes them completely compatible with us. This regal bird presented himself in a most courtly fashion and after a fashionably short stay ambled away probably wondering about the outrageously attired bird he had just met.
This is the first time I saw the icebreaker that originally took me to Antarctica. I am standing on a manhole cover in Ushuaia, Argentina. Ushuaia is the South American gateway to Antarctica and one of the southern most cities on earth.
In Antarctica there is always “gear” on you, next to you or under you. I am dressed in a typical bright parka and waterproof pants on a warm spring day. I am sitting on a tent with some emergency provisions in the event that the weather changes and the helicopter cannot pick us up and return us to the ship.
South Georgia is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I am standing in a very cold river taking photographs of the King Penguin colony located at Gold Harbor.
Sailing between landings is a continuous panorama of the Antarctica Landscape or endless seascapes of ice formations. When the icebreaker makes a path through the ice one can feel it through the ship, see and hear all the action.
Diesel electric engines power the icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov. The heat produced is vented to the upper deck exchanger. I am standing in one of the many doors used to allow this heat to escape. With the outside temperature below freezing one can stand in these vent doors protected from the cold and wind and watch the passing fantasy of Antarctica while staying warm.
My initial interest in Antarctica was ice in all of its forms and colors. Sea ice is endless and in all kinds of shapes and types. Here you see me collecting some of the inspirations for my paintings.
The bridge on an icebreaker is huge and sits atop of the ship. The view is 360 degrees and the action ceaseless. At least two of the ship’s officers are present at all times. There are charts, electronics and other visuals to assist them in making decisions about their passage through the ice. Sometimes they launch helicopters in order to scout the route. It is the best place to watch for penguins, whales, birds and other creatures. It is also warm and not windy like on the various ship’s decks.
J J with African Penguin Chick on Robben Island, South Africa