Gentoo Penguins

On Location: Carcass & New Islands—A Welcome Introduction to the Falkland Islands

Zegrahm Contributor|January 13, 2009|Blog Post

We began our day of exploration at Carcass Island, named after the Royal Navy ship HMS Carcass which reached the Falklands in 1766. We set out on a pleasant walk, noting Cobb’s wren and Falkland steamer ducks, found only in the Falklands; striated caracaras; snipes; upland and kelp geese; meadowlarks; and finches. We also saw our first penguins of the trip, gentoos and Magellanics. Today Carcass Island is owned by Rob McGill, who treated us to a delightful tea at the end of our morning explorations before the Zodiacs whisked us back to the ship. Some lucky travelers were treated to a Zodiac escort by Commerson’s dolphins.

Back on board and en route to New Island our captain deftly navigated the narrow “Wooly Gut” passage between West Point Island and West Falkland, giving us spectacular views of the 400 million-year-old quartz sandstone cliffs. Our arrival at New Island was celebrated with a Peale’s dolphin Zodiac escort and a short hike past the Captain Barnard Museum ending at a magnificent rookery teeming with rockhopper penguins, imperial shags, and black-browed albatross, all with downy, hungry chicks in the nests.

Adult albatross entertained us with their sometimes graceful, sometimes ungainly launches and landings. Long lines of penguins hopped up and down the cliffs in a never- ending effort to keep their young ones fueled. Cameras didn’t stop clicking until it was time to return for a quick tour of the museum and conversations with the local artists. Then it was on to the ship for a little relaxation at the end of another fabulous day.

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