We woke today with Cape Crozier still becalmed. The smooth ocean reflected a gathering of icebergs just offshore, and the ice-streaked snowfield that leads down to the penguins glistened with meltwater. “This is the kind of day when, if there are whales around, you can hear them breathing,” Ballard said.
Down at the penguin colony we heard a different sound carrying across the still air: the quiet peeps of thousands of penguin chicks. The first of the gray fluffballs hatched a week ago, signaling the beginning of a busy period for penguins and researchers alike. We filled our packs with water and chocolate bars, and followed Ballard down to the colony. There, he and Lindquist attached tiny tags to keep track of the adult penguins’ comings and goings as they strive to raise the new arrivals.