Everyone that goes to Antarctica has the dream and their fingers crossed that they will spot an Emperor Penguin on their voyage. Passengers that journey to the Weddell Sea have the best chance to see one on an ice floe however it is still highly unlikely. It’s the search for the holy grail of penguins. Therefore it was quite amazing to read about the young Emperor Penguin that found its way 4000 kilometers from Antarctica to Peka Peka beach in New Zealand this week!
This penguin must have had navigational skills similar to Frank Worsley from Ernest Shackleton’s voyage aboard the Endurance to find land after so many miles in the open ocean. Still more amazing is that Christine Wilton happened to be walking her dog at the precise moment the Emperor waddled out of the water on to the beach!
With the icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov ending its Antarctic voyages after the final trip this December there will be no more passenger ships sailing with the ability to truly visit an Emperor Penguin rookery. This final “end of an era” voyage December 6, 2011 – January 5, 2012 has plans to visit Larsemann Hills a remote landing that may be the world’s last passenger expedition to an Emperor Penguin rookery. The landing will be subject to conditions that allow the Khlebnikov’s helicopters to visit the rookery which is located on the actual sea ice in Amanda Bay.
If you have the time (31 days) and the fare $50,190/person for a twin cabin – there is still a chance to be part of the landing to Emperor Penguins in their natural environment. Perhaps you would rather visit South Georgia and the King Penguins which are almost as large, a bit more colorful, and more accessible in location as well as price.
Maybe an Antarctic Peninsula voyage is your destination – there you might spot the lone King Penguin that like this lonely Emperor in New Zealand has braved the open ocean and found the continent of Antarctica. Whatever your interest Polar Cruises would love to make it happen for you.