The Joy of Watching Adélies
"They are extraordinarily like children, these little people of the Antarctic world, either like children or little old men, full of their own importance." -Apsley Cherry-Garrard, who wrote of seeing Adélie penguins during his time on Robert F. Scott's final expedition to the South Pole in his book The Worst Journey in the World (fun title!).
I was lucky enough to see some Adélie penguins up close this past week and I don't think I have ever witnessed an animal that demonstrates such a total and wholehearted commitment to getting from here to there, no matter the obstacles. And when you are a two foot tall bird, dressed in a thick feather tuxedo, with stubby little legs and wings that are entirely ineffective on land, trying to make your way over craggy ice peaks and slippery rocks, almost everything is an obstacle. But they tirelessly trudge along with determination and resignation, chests forward and wings back, falling down and getting back up, disinterested in the wonder of the world around them, always waddling. I'm disappointed I can't share a video but I'm hopeful that my photos and this description will spark your imagination and curiosity - and perhaps there are already videos of Adélie penguins walking on YouTube.