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Flipping out with my Antarctic Friends

Ramcharan Vijayaraghavan

‘Humans Ahoy!’ said one Imperial shag to another. I was as excited to see the conversing cormorants, and looking forward to meeting the rest of this amazing ecosystem.
‘Careful boys! Get a grip! We’re on thin ice here!’ The youthful Gentoo penguins were excited to see us as well, smelling good, after their morning bath. The scaled orange feet with blood flowing in them kept them warm, while the claws at the end provided them with good grip for the ice and snow.
‘Love me tender!’ It is quite an emotional sight to see the penguins wooing each other. There are swoons, a bit of necking with their beaks, some flippity-flop of the flippers, but nothing to beat a really long, warm hug. You can only stay there and watch in awe admiring these wonderful beings.
‘Soar like a gull!’ Probably have the best seats in the arena, a hundred feet in the air overseeing the vast expanse of blue and white and shades in between. I was reminded of a quote from Jonathan Livingstone Seagull (by Richard Bach), which said, “For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight.” Something we as learners could relate to!
‘Window to another world.’ The size, scale and story of Antarctica, is indeed overwhelming and humbling. As we bid adieu to our winged friends and other mammals, I realized that we were leaving a really pristine place behind – one that we should ensure to preserve. May the photos speak a thousand words and narrate the memories firmly etched.

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