Penguin Selfies

While I was in Antarctica, I had a selfie competition with a guy named Brian who I met on the boat. (Hi Brian!)

The point of the competition was to see who could get the best selfie with a penguin, a seal, and a whale.

Seal selfie:


Penguin selfies:



The selfies with the penguins and the selfies with the seals were easy, but the selfie with a whale was hard.

Here I am waiting for a whale to surface:




Lucky for me, I was also able to get selfies with the two ‘penguins’ who hosted Polar Pictionary night:

ERM selfie

But then my friend Robert (hi Robert!) and I got to dress up as penguins on the last night …


… so I got the ultimate penguin selfie:

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In the end Brian told me that I won, but I’m still pretty sure he did better than me.


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Penguins and Orcas and Seals, oh my!

In Antarctica, there are plenty of animals.

There are penguins, whales, seals, and many more creatures. IMG_1175

There are mean birds like skuas, cute birds like penguins, busy birds like shags, and beautiful birds like Antarctic terns.

Skuas like to steal penguin eggs. I saw one steal an egg and fly off with it. Here is a brown skua staking out a penguin nest.


Most of the penguins we saw were either Gentoo, Adelie, or Chinstrap. Here are a couple of chinstraps:


We also saw shags collecting seaweed to build their nests.



Can you see the baby birds with this mother?

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The Antarctic tern hovers like a hummingbird over the water. Here are two Antarctic terns flying:


There are also grumpy whales like Fin whales, playful whales like Humpback whales, and hungry whales like Orcas.

We saw some whales near the Antarctic convergence:

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Can you see the whale tails in these photos?



One of the best parts of our trip was the fact that several wildlife and nature experts were on board. Simon, part of the staff, was basically our bird expert. He taught a lot of people, including me, a lot of stuff about the wildlife we would be seeing.

He also helped me use the binoculars to spot various birds that flew alongside our ship, such as Cape Petrels and Wandering Albatrosses. (See, he taught me a lot; I actually know what those birds are!)

The Black-browed Albatross:

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Cape Petrel:


Wandering Albatross (the bird with the largest wingspan in the world):


Here is Simon helping me identify the Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins on one of our landings:

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Bruce, another staff member, was our whale guy.


He was pretty good at spotting the whales and could easily, like Simon, figure out what kind of whale we were seeing.


One of our best gifts on Christmas Day was a visit from several Orcas. We took the Zodiacs out to cruise around and get a closer look at them. They were spectacular!

One of the penguin highlights on trip was seeing a small chick at Port Lockroy. I actually saw the mother regurgitating food into the baby’s mouth. He was really cute!




One kid got footage of penguins underwater, too! I might try to make a funny montage of penguins, myself. If I do, I’ll be sure to tell you guys! In the meantime, here are a few more pictures of penguins.

This guy was stuck way out on an iceberg. He is probably still there!


Two Chinstraps:


Chinstraps and Gentoos together:


Nesting Chinstraps:

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And more Gentoos:


And more Chinstraps:

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Did you know that penguins travel along Penguin Highways? They follow the same path to pack down the snow and make it easier to walk from their nests to the water.





When penguins are getting ready to build a nest together, they bow to each other. It shows that they will be good at collecting rocks to build a nest.




I had a lot of fun trying to get pictures of headless penguins. Don’t worry, his head is still there — you just can’t see it!



Penguins can’t fly in the air, but they can definitely fly in the water:





A Gentoo with an Adelie:





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The staff kept track of all of the wildlife we saw along the trip. Here is a list of our sightings:

Since the scenery was so beautiful and the wildlife was so fascinating, you can understand why everyone was taking thousands of photographs. We called it the Penguin Paparazzi.


This must be what it feels like to be a penguin:


I hope you enjoyed my wildlife report!


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Antarctica is awesome

Hey guys! I haven’t posted in a while because where I was, there are no telephone lines, mobile networks, TV satellites, or Wi-Fi routers. But now I can tell you: I have been to all seven continents! I just spent Christmas in Antarctica!
To get there, we flew from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, a small port at the bottom of the world.



In Ushuaia, we boarded a ship called the Akademik Sergey Vavilov and sailed through the Drake Passage to the Antarctic peninsula. The Drake Passage is one of the harshest places to cross because it is where the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean meet each other.

There is also something called the Antarctic Convergence, where warmer water from the north meets colder water from the south. It can be really choppy, but that is also where whales like to hang out and where icebergs can be found. Here is the first iceberg we spotted … can you see it?
It took two days of sailing to get to the peninsula, and then we spent three days visiting different locations along the coast. The most beautiful place we went to was probably Cuverville Island. We actually went there because when we arrived at the Lemaire Channel, it was too frozen for us to pass.


You can see the chart of our trip and all the landings we made here:Landings LandingMap

It surprisingly wasn’t as cold as I expected, and one day we couldn’t even wear jackets it was so hot.


But the next day was cold again, and we even had snow on Christmas Day.


We saw many very cool icebergs. Actually, I guess all icebergs are cool!




Almost everywhere we went was beautiful. The possibilities ranged from the tall cliffs covered in snow to gigantic glaciers waiting to fall into the ocean.




Plus lots of fascinating wildlife, which I will tell you all about in another post. Here’s a preview:


You might be wondering what a ‘landing’ is. Basically, the ship can’t dock on the shores, so we take these smaller boats called Zodiacs.


First, we had to get dressed in our waterproof wetskins, then put our gumboots on, and then our lifejackets.




We had to wash our gumboots in a special solution because we didn’t want to introduce any foreign bacteria or harmful things to the continent. Next, we went down a gangway and climbed into one of the Zodiacs and a staff member drove us to shore.



Sometimes we could disembark on a rock, but other times we had to make wet landings where we stepped right into the water. Luckily we had our gumboots on!

At each landing, we went hiking, we visited some museums, and we got to slide on the snow.

At one landing, the ice started to pack in around us and we had to make a speedy getaway back to the ship. Can you see our ship back there in the distance?

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But mostly we spent our time watching the penguins and their funny behavior.


It was such an amazing trip that I can’t fit everything in one post, so I will post more about Antarctica soon!

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Hola, Argentina!!!

Hey guys! I have taken a bit of a break from blogging while on the road but now I’ve arrived in Ushuaia, Argentina, the capital of Tierra del Fuego! I spent last night in Buenos Aires (‘Good Wind’ in Spanish) and checked the place out. I saw some good local soccer and ate some really tender beef. Then I took a four-hour plane ride here, to Ushuaia. Ushuaia is indeed the southernmost city in the world, maybe besides Penguintown. I’m still getting settled. Tomorrow night I will be on a Russian built exploration boat heading south, going to Antarctica (hopefully there’s nothing in between me and Antarctica nor me and my sleep)! I can’t wait to get there🐧! Unfortunately, my Grammie (my dad’s mom) passed away this week and I can’t go to her funeral because of this trip, therefore I dedicate this Antarctic journey to her and know that she can see me here, down under.




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Until we meet again, Australia

I’m so tired. That is what happens when you’ve been on a 14 hour flight that has crossed both the international dateline and the equator, setting you back a day and two seasons. We have just flown halfway around the world from Australia to the USA. We ended our visit to Australia in Melbourne. Melbourne is very hip with lots of restaurants and cafés – almost all of which are super expensive (I’m a KID and I realized that, and that’s sayin’ a lot). For example: Five Aussie dollars for a coffee… PSHHH!☕️😕

One of the main sources of transportation in Melbourne is by tram. We took a lot of trams from St. Kilda, where we were staying, into the city center and around the city.

We visited some exhibits at the library and saw Edward ‘Ned’ Kelly’s homemade armor. Ned Kelly was a bushranger, and many people think he was a folk hero. During his time he was highly ‘WANTED’ by the police. He made body armor out of farm instruments to protect him in a shoutout with the police. It didn’t really work; He got captured by the police. We had read about him in our history book, The Story of the World, so it was cool to see the armor up close.

At the ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) we learned about the first kinds of movies and how they developed into modern day films, television, and even video games. The museum featured a lot of Australian actors. We even saw an exhibit on movies about Ned Kelly. Mick Jagger and Heath Ledger both played Ned Kelly in different movies. We saw the movie version of the suit of armor that Ned Kelly’s character, performed Heath Ledger, wore.

Melbourne also has a lot of parks, so I got to play a tiny bit of soccer. There is also an amusement park called Luna Park, based on the one at Coney Island. I got to ride the bumper cars there.


Nearby, is the St. Kilda pier and at sunset people gather to see little penguins swim in from their day of fishing and hop on rocks.


Melbourne turned out to be great for gluten free food. I got a gluten free margherita pizza at Mr. Wolf and then a huge stack of gluten free pancakes at a place called Hide + Cheek. Check out my food section for photos.

Australia was full of excitement, wildlife, fun activities/things to do, and high prices. I really enjoyed camping, surfing, and just being in Australia. I hope that someday I can go back. BYE AUSTRALIA😉👋!


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Cool Koalas

The Great Ocean Road is famous for many different things, such as koalas🐨!

We went on a koala bear sighting hunt. A guy at our campsite told us about a route that apparently has many koalas on it. We started at a cemetery. No koalas. Then we drove up to Timboon, a small village, and walked on a beautiful path lined with gum trees, the kind of trees koalas like to hang out in. Literally! Can you see a koala in this tree?

Neither could I! No koalas on that trip, except for this poster:

The next day, we decided to take the long way back toward Melbourne. We turned off near the Cape Otway lighthouse and almost immediately saw loads of tourists parked on the side of the road with their cameras. We hopped out of our car, too, and looked up. This is what we saw:


As we were driving along the road looking for more koalas, we came across this guy who was very sleepy, but also very close to us:

And then we saw this guy, who was much more awake. In fact, he was climbing a tree when we spotted him.

Here are a couple more koalas:




Unfortunately, koalas are losing their habitat due to dying gum trees. Here in Australia, we have learned a lot about the conservation of endangered species. I hope koalas will get the help they need. One thing is for sure, koalas are cute and cool.



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Surfing school

I’ve learned a new sport😄! One of the things I wanted to do on this trip was learn how to surf. I guess you can now call me a surfer dude (sort of)🏄!

Mom and I went to a surfing school to ride some waves🌊!



I think I caught on pretty well, but I don’t know about mom.

By the end, she was surfing like a pro (almost).

Our instructors were total surfer dudes. They aways did surfer dude hand gestures, like ‘hang ten’.

I had TONS of fun at the school and really can surf now! ROCK ON, MAN!😛👍





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The Pulchritudinous Soccer-Playing Quokka

There once was a quokka,
Who was very pulchritudinous.
Who is this quokka?
No, he’s not THAT ludicrous…
He likes to play soccer,
And does it happily,
And when he scores,
He dances flappily.
This quokka’s so cute,
He’ll always say “Hey!”,
But when it’s time to say “Goodbye!”,
Expect a “G’day!”.
(Quokkas are Australian)


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Capital city

Does anybody know what the capital of Australia is? You might guess Sydney or even Melbourne, but the fair dinkum (that’s Australian for truth) is that it is in Canberra.

We took a break from camping for a day and I got to visit the Parliament House in Canberra! It’s like going to the Capitol Building in D.C., but, of course, in Australia. It also reminded me of our visit to the State House in Boston.


We took the free tour for about a half-hour.

IMG_3947.JPGWhat was interesting was our guide was a middle-aged Danish dude! Apparently, there are two Parliament Houses, the old one which is now a museum, and the new one!

I also got to touch examples of Italian and Danish rocks that were used to construct the new Parliament House and learned about the architecture of the building. In fact, the building’s appearance is sort of strange.

In this picture, you can see the two official animals of Australia — the kangaroo and the emu. This is symbolic because these are the only two animals that can’t walk backwards (at least that is what our tour guide told us). Apparently, according to some kids that I met, Australia is the only country that lets people eat its national animal!!!

One of the best parts was seeing one of four original Magna Cartas! That was probably one of the highlights of my trip. The other original Magna Cartas are in the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Does anybody know why the Magna Carta is so important?

Once our tour was finished, we walked into the Senate where there was was a woman giving a speech. Nobody in the whole room was paying any attention to her, but while we were in our car, driving away from the Parliament House, we heard her speech on the radio! So that meant that everybody listening to that radio station was listening to her!

Before we left, we headed up to the roof (luckily there wasn’t some guard dog attacking us on the ‘roof’) of the Parliament House! From up there we could see Chinese people protesting for freedom to practice their religion in China (some were. Why? The Chinese President was visiting the Parliament House that day!


I am glad that I had this introduction to Australian government because a few days later, while we were camping, we met a group of tenth graders and had an interesting conversation about politics with them. They really seemed to know what was going on!

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How ya goin’?

Hey mates! How ya goin’? You may think that all Aussies say “g’day mate”, and they do! But more often, they say “How ya goin’?” (which is not grammatically correct at all!) as a greeting.

For the past week I’ve been camping, which means no Wi-Fi, which, of course, means I couldn’t publish blog posts. Instead I swam at the beach, boogie boarded, played soccer, and sighted wildlife. While camping I encountered kangaroos, cockatoos, parrots, wallabies, blue bottles (jellyfish), ravens, sea rays, sting rays, seagulls, wombats, kookaburras, and all kinds of other crazy stuff that I can’t name (unfortunately not one quokka)!






The campsites here have grills, so we have been cooking out every night. Most of my diet has been sausages, burgers, and grilled veggies. Plus hot chocolate for breakfast!


I even made a couple friends along the way. One let me borrow his surfboard so I could try out surfing, others drew with charcoal with me, and some even played Minecraft with me!


I got to see a blowhole called the Kiama Blowhole! Now I’m not talking whales here, even though I would like to see a couple, but rather rocks. Check this out!



We camped at Booderee National Park, a place called Mallacoota, and Wilsons Promontory, which is the southernmost point of the Australian mainland.









Plus we got to roast marshmallows!


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