with Elephant Seal neighbours
King Penguin Colony
At the southern end of the planet the long summer days transform life just as they do in the North but, the cast is very different. King penguin,
a parent coming with food must recognise its chick's call amongst a chorus of 400,000 birds. Huge colonies, like this one are found all along the north
court of South Georgia.
King Penguins are active throughout the long summer days so they have to deal with an uncharacteristic polar problem. By midday temperatures can reach a sizzling 17°C. Any effort can lead to overheating. It's best not to over-exert oneself.
King Penguin Cooling
The heavily insulated Penguins stretch out so their naked feet can cool in the breeze.
Their gigantic neighbours use a different approach. Wet sand cools the backs of elephant seals but also acts as a sunscreen.
King Penguin Spa
The chicks in their downy coats which have kept them warm all winter are in even greater danger of overheating. It'll be two months before they can swim properly, but a dip in a shallow river brings some relief. There is, however, another way to cool the blood. This murky pool has become a Penguins spa. It's a great way to cool the feet but, there is no reason to stop there, you can indulge yourself with the full treatment; mud glorious mud.
For the fully-feathered adults there is a cleaner more invigorating option, the bracing waters of the Southern Ocean.