Brown Bluff and Paulet Island

Jan 21, 2020 - National Geographic Explorer


Today was a very Adélie day. We awoke to bluebird skies, surrounded by icebergs. After a quick breakfast, we loaded our small boats and set off to land at Brown Bluff—an exposed portion of a glacial volcano. The rust-colored cliffs provided a striking contrast against the blue icebergs. We wandered down the beach to view breeding colonies of gentoo and Adélie penguins.

Our morning was spectacular, but our afternoon at Paulet Island felt otherworldly. This site hosts one of the largest breeding colonies of Adélies—over 100,000 pairs, plus chicks! Not only was seeing so many penguins visually overwhelming, the smells and sounds were also quite intense. No amount of literature can prepare you for seeing this many Adélie penguins in one place. It’s a feeling that will last a lifetime.

We explored by Zodiac and foot and happily boarded National Geographic Explorer at the end of the day reeking of guano! We ended the evening with a sighting of an emperor penguin and soft light on tabular icebergs. What a dream of a day.

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About the Author

Shaylyn Potter

Undersea Specialist

Shaylyn was born and raised in small-town Oregon, which she credits for her unwavering love and respect for the natural world. Her passion for the outdoors and exploration began at a young age, and she spent her childhood taking full advantage of what Oregon had to offer—waterskiing, snowboarding, hiking, and camping.

About the Videographer

Rodrigo Moterani

Video Chronicler

Rodrigo Moterani was born in Brazil in 1976. After spending his teen years playing with camcorders and VCRs, Rodrigo ended up working in the field of television journalism and video production in his home country. He graduated with a degree in communications in 1997.

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