Dear Mr. David Hess,
We are from the J-I Elementary School in Inverness, Montana U.S.A. We have been studying penguins and know that they live in Antarctica. We have some questions that we would like to ask you. Please, if you have time, could you write back to us?
Mikinzie's questions: Are there any eskimos? Did you see any polar bears? What kind of penguins are there?
Chase's question: What kinds of penguins are there?
Jenny's questions: Tell me the kinds of penguins there is. Tell me if there are some eskimos.
Keith's question: How big are icebergs?
Jeremiah's question: What's the biggest iceberg you've seen? How tall is it?
Hannah's question: Do you play with the penguins?
Heather's question: Have you seen any polar bears?
We hope you are having a good time. Thank you for reading and answering our questions. Good-bye Mikinzie, Hannah, Keith, Jenny, Heather, Chase, Jeremiah and Mrs. Donna Rudolph
I am sorry to report that there are no polar bear or Eskimos here in Antarctica. They live in the Arctic. If you look at a map of the world, the arctic is on top, and the Antarctic is on the bottom. The Antarctic is known for penguins.
There are many different types, but the two common types here are Adelie and Emperor penguins. I may have seen a few Emperor penguins a week ago, but they were so far away, I could not tell for sure. I have seen some Adelie penguins from about 20 feet away. They are small penguins, about 18 inches tall. When I saw them I stopped and did not go any closer. There are very strict rules here about not bothering the wildlife. If I had walked closer to take pictures, I would have broken the rules.
The most common animal here are seals. We have lots of seals that would come up through the ice and lay in the sun. The ice has gone from the McMurdo sound for a few miles out into the water. Because of this, I have not seen any seals in the past week or so.
A few miles away is Scott Base, which is a New Zealand research station. It is located near where the Ross ice shelf meets the Ross Sea. The ice shelf is very thick, and never melts. The Ross Sea in this area sometimes has open water as we have now, but this is the first time in 3 years that the ice has gone. Near Scott Base, where the ice shelf meets the sea, is a big iceberg. It is a few miles away, so it is hard to guess at the size, other than to say it is big. When you look across a white flat piece of ice, and the next land is 25 miles away, distance and size are very hard to estimate.
Thanks for writing,
David Hess NK3T