The immense size of Antarctica is overwhelming. The ice structures tower over you and their clear and intense colors can dull your senses to other structures and lifeforms around you.
But if you pay attention you will note several things that are more subtle but very intriguing.
There is life and color everywhere.
The lava mountains that are the extension of the Andes make that world seem black and white.
But it is not just black and white.
Check out a simple Gentoo penguin. It sports a bright orange beak and pinkish feet.
The wayward Macaroni penguin gives you the red eyes, pink beak and feet. And just to be a standout it has an orange topknot.
Of course, there are the colors of the rookeries. Black and white, pink and orange, and red.
That red? That is krill. They are tiny red creatures that swim in the cold Antarctic Ocean. They are the penguin diet. And once they have traveled the penguin digestive tract, they decorate the rocks of the rookeries. Penguin poop.
(Krill not only leave that distinctive color, they leave a VERY distinctive odor. That permeates everything. It took three days of California breezes to remove that smell from my parka!)
The seals, at first, appeared rather monotone in color. They were not. Ranging from near black to white their unique shades just added to the palette.
Whales did the same thing. You think that they are just there. But when you see one swimming free in its own world…. they aren’t just there. They BELONG there and you don’t. The colors of the waters and the animals are what make you realize that fact.
Maybe what surprised me most were the mosses, algae and fungi. I did not expect to see plant growth at all. To be honest, I expected black and white. When I saw the brilliant blue of an iceberg or the red of the rookeries I found that logical. It made sense to me.
I had forgotten the lessons about this form of life. They are tough guys. And very beautiful in such a stark place.
Color and life everywhere you looked. It was astounding.
Near the last day on the boat, a piece of fabric was posted. Labeled at Antarctica Tartan and appearing to be hand-woven I had to stop and inspect it. (I am a weaver)
This piece of art is beautiful. It captures so much of what I saw and felt. More importantly, it started me thinking about putting the colors and the life that I saw into my own design.
The Colors of Life.