Petermann Island & Beyond

Jan 02, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer

People come to Antarctica for so many things—the lure of penguins, the hope to see humpback whales feeding in chorus, and of course the sculptures of ice. What you hope for though, is the unexpected, the rare, and the unbelievable. Today began with a landing at Petermann Island that had our guests surrounded by penguins once again, but the afternoon had us heading south toward one of the most magnificent events to witness in the Southern Ocean. A pod of killer whales chose to target a lone crabeater seal upon the ice, and with deft manoeuvres and coordinated attack they made multiple attempts to wash the seal from the ice. Though they successfully stole it from its perch over a dozen times, the seal was determined to remain among the living – leaping out of the water again and again to avoid the hungry mouths of the largest dolphin on our planet. And just when the crabeater seemed exhausted, and the killer whales rounded for the final assault—the seal managed to slip away, leaving the whales to scatter in search of the meal that got away. 

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About the Author

Paul North

Undersea Specialist

Paul North is the founder of the educational nonprofit Meet the Ocean and host of its online podcast. As a polar diver with Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic, he tours the remote underwater landscapes of Antarctica and other sub-zero destinations to emphasize the importance, diversity, and unexpected color of the invertebrate kingdom.

About the Videographer

Bradford McArthur

Video Chronicler

Bradford McArthur has been shooting film and photos since the 1990's (pre-digital dinosaur!) Committed to filming isolated regions and untold stories through a message of conservation, McArthur founded Forever Exploring Productions in 2009. As a former professional rock/alpine climber and whitewater kayaker he has shot adventure films all over the globe for brands such as Arc'teryx, The North Face, Olympus and many others.

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