Emperor penguins can propel themselves out of Antartica’s icy waters in astonishing leaps that defy gravity. Following my own close encounter with the penguins’ main predator, leopard seals, I entered Antarctica’s freezing waters to observe how they can achieve this remarkable feat, escaping predation.

Paul Nickles October, 2021

After dozens of underwater encounters with one of Antarctica’s top predators I took the liberty of putting their range of behaviors into a box. On this clear, crisp morning, little did I know that my attitude would nearly cost me my life.