My Penguin Year recounts author Lindsay McCrae’s adventure to the end of the Earth living alongside and studying the lifecycle of emperor penguins.
Leaving his pregnant wife behind in England, Lindsay departed for Antarctica on the 16th December 2016. He returned on 1st November 2017 after spending almost a year on what would be the most amazing experience of his life.
Arriving at the Neumayer III Research Station, situated on the thick ice sheet of the Queen Maud Land region of Antarctica, it took time to adapt to the routine of the close knit community that lived there.
Knowing the station would be isolated through the long dark winter months when filming the penguins would be almost impossible, he took his fly-tying kit and a unicycle, which he was determined to learn how to ride.
He soon realised that he would need to go to great lengths and plumb the depths of his psyche for the patience to film the most important moments of the Emperor Penguin’s unusual life cycle.
Marching up to 100 miles over solid ice to reach their breeding grounds, the males and females pair up and mate in April, followed by egg-laying a month later.
The females transfer their eggs to their partner’s feet and brooding pouch, then leave, while the males care for the single egg throughout the bitter Antarctic winter. The chicks hatch after sixty days, around the end of July, and feed on food stored, then regurgitated, by the males.
The females, fat from feeding out at sea, return during the first weeks of August to claim the chicks from their mates. The males, now in very poor condition, are finally able to return to the open sea for much-needed food.
Would Lindsay be able to survive the extreme isolation, thousands of miles from his family, and capture, on film, the penguins’ struggle to breed and to successfully rear the next generation in the unforgiving Antarctic winter?
This wonderful book with its many glorious photos of the frozen terrain and its inhabitants is a must read for anyone with a passion for travel, adventure and, most importantly, the natural world.
It not only tells of the isolation and dedication of those brave souls, who man the research stations in both the Arctic and Antarctica, but of the resilience of the native wildlife to the extreme conditions.
Lindsay’s persistence in catching every important moment of the penguins’ lives on camera is to be admired and applauded. There are few amongst us who would have the bodily stamina and mental fortitude to endure.
My Penguin Year is available in paperback, hardback and e-book
About Lindsay McCrae
Lindsay McCrae’s passion for wildlife began at an early age. At school he built wildlife ponds and gardens, while evenings were spent watching a badger’s sett near his home in rural Lake District. His passion for watching wildlife soon turned into a need to capture what he was seeing on film. He took out a loan from his mother and invested in his own camera at the age of 15 and never looked back. Lindsay has been filming wildlife professionally for over 10 years and has travelled all over the UK and across the world filming everything from emperor penguins in Antarctica to orang-utans in the Indonesian jungle.