As our crossing of the Drake Passage concluded this morning, a typical South Shetland Islands fog settled over the landscape. This island group, roughly 60 miles north of the mainland of Antarctica, is notorious for wet, foggy weather, and we got a bit of both today. Our guests didn’t seem to mind one bit, nor did the penguins.

Our first landing of the voyage was on Barrientos Island, a place alive with sounds, colors, and smells. The local colonies of gentoo and chinstrap penguins provided this sensory experience on land, but it was their antics in the water that stole the show today. Multiple penguins were busy playing king of the hill on a small piece of glacial ice near the landing site, offering about an hour of quality entertainment as they pushed and slapped and fought for the right to stand atop the ice for not much longer than mere seconds.

Underwater, the penguins were observed with an underwater camera while they streaked back and forth, leaving bubble trails as they jockeyed for position on the ice.

Hours of fun, and we’ve only just arrived. Welcome to Antarctica!