National Geographic : 1955 Jan
it eventually gives up and remains, ostrichlike, with head out of sight and body exposed. It is a ludicrous sight to see rows of brooding penguins, each with a small brown parcel bulging out from under its apron (page 99). At the beginning of their first winter, young king penguins are not ca pable of going to sea and fishing for themselves. In stead they bunch together in one huge nursery pre sided over by adults de tailed to act as nurse maids. From what I saw, these baby sitters are not bowed down with the weight of their cares. They wander about among the down coated young with no ap parent purpose, more often than not in pairs, reminding me vividly of military policemen. Far be it from me, how ever, to belittle their func tions. In the depth of winter their task must be an unenviable one: mov ing an unruly crowd of youngsters into fresh shel ter with every change of Pneumatic 1 wind; shepherding strag- By 1885 hunters glers who might otherwise colonies. Protected fears only killer wh become engulfed in drift- anger. The author ing snow; and generally supervising the welfare of an irresponsible crowd in the vilest weather imaginable. It often happens that, when we have been keyed up in expectation of something famed in literature, we feel a trifle disappointed when we meet it in reality. It was with some mis givings that I looked for my second major objective in South Georgia, the much-vaunted wandering, or great, albatross (Diomedea ex ulans). Fortunately I was not disappointed.* Albatross Soars on 11-foot Wings I had first seen one of these magnificent birds some 250 miles after we had cleared the Tropics on our voyage to South Georgia. The day was dull and overcast, with a strong breeze blowing-weather beloved of the great- Jose Marks This Elephant Seal as a Male almost wiped out Mirounga leonina's South Georgia now by law, the seal is increasing again. At sea he tales. This 3-ton bull inflates his hollow proboscis in risked a bite to get this portrait. est of all seafowl-when from below the stern of the floating whale factory appeared this giant bird, rising on motionless snow-white wings till it floated far above the masthead. It hung for a moment, then swung away toward the foam-crested waves on our wind ward beam. The strength of the albatross is one of its most famous characteristics, and an attribute it certainly needs, living as it does in the zone of the fiercest winds on earth. Its aver age air speed has been calculated at around 60 miles per hour; its wingspread is sometimes 11 feet (page 103). There is no doubt that * See "Birds of the High Seas," by Robert Cushman Murphy, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, August, 1938.