Armstrong Reef, Antarctica

Jan 03, 2020 - National Geographic Explorer

Today we kept with the trend of exploring new places and were able to cruise around Armstrong Reef. Here we were introduced to a new species of penguin, the chinstrap! We saw Antarctic shags sitting on small puffy chicks and even giant petrels returning to their nests to relieve their mates from tending to babies.

In the afternoon we took off in our Zodiacs to explore vast sheets of degrading sea ice riddled with Weddell and crabeater seals. We were greeted with a large flock of snow petrels that were rafting on the surface and bathing. They would periodically lift out of the water and fly around our heads. It is always a treat to see a snow petrel but to see this many at once was magical.

We’re now continuing our journey north. Hoping for good weather and little wind tomorrow, everyone is excited to see what the next adventure will bring.

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About the Author

Jessica Farrer


Jessica is a research associate with SR3, SeaLife Response, Rehabilitation and Research ( in Seattle, WA. She is currently working on several projects that monitor the health of the critically endangered southern resident killer whale population in the Salish Sea and humpback, minke and killer whales around the Antarctic Peninsula. Her main research interests are the predator prey dynamics of the Southern Ocean and she will be starting a PhD in fall 2020 to investigate the effects of climate change and fishing pressure on the diet of killer whales and Weddell seals in both the Antarctic Peninsula and the Ross Sea.

About the Photographer

Steve Morello

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Steve Morello has had a long and colorful career in the natural history world. Born in New Jersey he was lucky to be able to summer on the shores of Cape Cod. Whether it was exploring the tidal pools, snorkeling along the beach, or hiking in the dunes, it all came together to instill in him a deep connection to the natural world. It was no surprise that he would return to the Cape as a whale researcher in his adult years. It was on the Cape that Steve first became involved in guiding, and for 15 years acted as naturalist on whale watching boats in the Gulf of Maine. Steve worked with groups creating environmental education material for school programs and soon found another one of his passions, photography.

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