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16 October 2014

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Due South

By Hazel Roberts
June 2004, Machynlleth
A digital story from Capture Wales

Penguins on the Peninsula

The temptation to p... p... pick up a penguin is all too much for Hazel.

"I had my first real penguin experience in the Falklands. I was completely enchanted by them. We sailed for two days, full ahead, due south. The Antarctic Peninsula is at about the same latitude in the south as Scotland is in the north, but what a difference not having the gulf stream drift makes.

The weather was quite rough for our first landing. Sitting on the edge of the Zodiac was scary. The sea looked so cold, but I only got a drop of water in my wellies as I landed.

We saw penguins dolphining in the water and watched a leopard seal kill one - not a good experience but then seals have to live as well. While we where on land we heard the ship siren - the weather was worsening and we had to get back PDQ. I wasn't able to climb back into the Zodiac because it was bouncing so much - so I was literally picked up and thrown in.

The next day was quite calm - the colours where amazing; the silence deafening. All we heard was a popping sound as the oxygen came out of the icebergs leaving them a vivid blue. We visited a volcanic pool which was warm enough to swim in, but I decided getting out and drying in the cold was more than I could face. I had already found out what wind chill really means.

The ship was making a channel in the pack ice as we sailed - so it was time to go back home. It really was a dream holiday but my strongest memory is how much I enjoyed the company of the penguins - so I brought a few back to remind me."


Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am retired, have lived in Wales for the past 15 years. My hobby is making cards and posters on my computer.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
Penguins. I really was enchanted by them on my holidays especially in the antarctic. My home bears witness to this - everything is penguin based.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
The whole thing was so interesting, the staff so helpful, and the amosphere was well balanced between hard work and light moments. I felt I was going to burst - it was so good.

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