Arrival at Whichaway Camp on the Shirmacher Oasis in Queen Maud Land. The three centralized pods held the kitchen, lounge, and dining room.

Wildlife on the Antarctica Peninsula and surrounding areas is abundant, but I wouldn’t know since I didn’t go there. I went to Queen Maud Land (and further into the interior to FD83 and South Pole), which is devoid of life. Or nearly devoid. One day I saw a smidgen of moss, and remarkably, this guy, a South Polar Skua called Dickey. I initially mistook Dickey for a giant pigeon because I’m from the city (and know nothing). Dickey hung out at camp and followed us around everywhere we went (glacier climbing, to the air srtips, on hikes, etc.). It was incredible. I was told he comes back to camp year after year. My heart broke imagining him all alone in the middle of nowhere Antarctica (there is nothing around for thousands of kilometers – nothing!), but I was relieved to learn he has a small family somewhere near camp. They survive eating Snow Petrel eggs (or snow petrels themselves…blocking that out). Apparently Snow Petrels and Skuas occasionally breed in the area, but you’d never know it. During my entire trip, I saw four birds, including Dickey, and no other signs of life.

South Polar Skua called Dickey, Wildlife, Antarctica Peninsula