FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Viking Discovers Penguin Colony

by Debra Bokur

May 20, 2024

© PGregoryB | Dreamstime.com

Daily

Cruising is always an adventure and, in addition to uncovering new culinary traditions and cultural experiences, lucky guests sometimes get to witness actual scientific discoveries. During a recent sailing of Viking Octantis to the waters of the Antarctic, Viking’s onboard expedition team participated in the discovery of a new colony of chinstrap penguins, identifiable partly by a distinctive facial marking that resembles a strap running beneath their beak from one side of their face to the other, as though holding down a hat.

This exciting find was made by the ship’s expedition team as they supported Oceanites, one of Viking’s scientific partners. Every one of Viking’s expedition voyages aboard Viking Octantis (and her identical sister ship, Viking Polaris) includes a 36-person expedition team comprised of visiting researchers from a variety of scientific disciplines. Guests benefit from onboard lectures, guided excursions, research opportunities and expert interpretation.

“The Antarctic peninsula is well-traveled and explored, and it is not often we find a new penguin colony,” said Dr. Grant Humphries, Director of Science, Oceanites. “Our partnership with Viking opened a new opportunity to not only count the chinstrap penguins on Astrolabe Island for the first time since the 1980s, but it also allowed us to locate and map a colony of chinstrap penguins previously unknown to us. This work will allow us to get a better understanding of how Antarctic penguin population dynamics are shifting in an ever-changing world.”

The Octantis, built in 2022 and rated as a Polar Class 6 purpose-built expedition ship, also benefits from partnerships with scientific entities including The University of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Norwegian Institute of Water Research, Norwegian Polar Institute, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, and IUCN Species Survival Commission Species Monitoring Specialist Group.

Prior to the chinstrap penguin colony discovery, Viking’s stellar expedition team had a noteworthy encounter with Antarctica’s rare giant phantom jellyfish. These exciting experiences, coupled with Viking’s outstanding service, accommodations and culinary offerings, are ample reasons to book an upcoming expedition cruise. Limited to 378 guests, expedition ships provide plenty of viewing areas both inside and out, and offer routes through the Antarctic, Arctic and North American Great Lakes.

“Viking’s expedition vessels continue to showcase the potential of reimagined ‘ships of opportunity’ and the research capabilities available for scientific efforts,” said Dr. Damon Stanwell-Smith, Head of Science and Sustainability, Viking. “With scientists from our partner organizations on board, like Oceanites, we can conduct real, meaningful research in the regions.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with Oceanites and other science partners to bring more findings forward in the future.”

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