Adélie penguin rookery on Franklin Island

Thursday, January 26th

Franklin Island in the Ross Sea is 7nmi / 13km long and lies about 80 nmi / 130km east of Cape Hickey, Victoria Land. It was discovered by James Clark Ross on 27 January 1841 and named for Sir John Franklin, the noted Arctic explorer, who as Governor of Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) had royally entertained the expedition on its way south at Hobart in 1840.

Of more interest to us was the Adélie penguin rookery on the island. That morning between 8am and 9am we were all ready to board zodiacs to go and spend several hours amongst the highly entertaining Adélies. We’d been briefed about the rules of conduct, which basically say: penguins have right of way, and, don’t get closer than about 5meters, but if you sit down and they come to you, that’s ok. Apart from thousands of Adélies and their chicks there were also Weddell seals on the beach.

Location of Franklin Island.
Adélie chicks starting to molt. This process needs to be completed for them to be ‘waterproof’ so to speak, and they can go and feed themselves at sea.
Feeding time. The adult goes to sea to feed and comes back to its chicks. Adélies hatch two chicks at the time and this can make for hilarious chases on the beach. The find their chicks by their unique sound.
Skuas are always on the hunt for chicks.
Coming back from feeding at sea.