National Geographic : 1955 Jan
96 A Demoniac Gust Bears Down on Albatross at More Than 100 Miles an Hour Crewmen of the expedition ship liked this anchorage in Cooper Bay until a howling westerly, funneling between barren hills, produced a screaming williwaw that whipped spray 50 feet into the air and knocked Albatross on her beam ends. A man on deck races for the wheelhouse. into the sea, it would look not unlike South Georgia. For this barren isle is long and nar row, and its towering, ice-mantled peaks rise straight from the water's edge to more than 9,000 feet. Rounding Start Point, we came upon a splendid little cove. Free of kelp in the center, and with a gently sloping shingle beach, it offered ample shelter from south, east, and west. We nosed in and anchored 30 yards south of the headland. Royal Welcome from Fifty Kings At once half a hundred king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonica) advanced to the water's edge, all shouting their surprise, dis approval, or welcome-it was difficult to say which. To reach the sea, the birds had to thread their way between scores of elephant seals lolling on the beach and past a colony of the smaller gentoo penguins busy with their domestic affairs. From the headlands above, hundreds of little heads peered at us through the high grass, while an unbroken string of penguin relatives hurried up the hill to bring news of our arrival. Dominican gulls in the bay protested our invasion of their privacy; their raucous cries seemed feeble beside the groans, hisses, sneezes, and belchings of the sea elephants (page 107). From this noisy chorus arose tones so startlingly human we could scarcely believe our ears. The cove, we decided, would provide a safe anchorage as long as the gentle easterly wind prevailed, and would be convenient for investi gation of the penguin rookery we hoped to find on the side of the Lucas Glacier. Next morning we set out to investigate.