Shortly after the MV Hondius dropped anchor in Mikkelsen Harbour, I completed my 39 minute dive and chose to go ashore to join the land expedition. These very special Brush-tailed penguins include Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adélie Penguins. While following all of the strict guidelines like 'always give the right-of-way' to all penguins, keep at least 15' distance, or do not kneel or sit on the ground to avoid the spread of bacteria, etc., I had a wonderful time mingling with these adorable animals. Because our trip was the last of the 2022-2023 season, most of the adults had already headed out to sea. The Gentoo's still on land were the young adults molting and preparing for their trip into the sea.
While easily recognized by the white stripe extending across the top of its head, Gentoo's also have a bright orange-red bill. Their webbed feet are pale whitish-pink. They also have a fairly long prominent brush like tail - hence the name. The chicks have grey backs with white fronts as you can clearly see in my images.
Gentoo's can grow to 28 to 35 in, making them the third-largest species of penguin after the King and Emperor Penguins. Breeding colonies are usually located on ice-free surfaces. Settlements can be located directly on the shoreline or considerably inland. With the onset of global warming, which is making rain versus snow more common, it will have a negative impact over the next many decades.