Falkland Islands Albatross

Today was our very last landing day on our Antarctica expedition (Feb 23, 2022), with stops at West Point and New Island in the Falkland Islands, with lots of Albatross to view. We had an earlier landing this morning, so got up around 7AM and were down to breakfast early, having the usual.

We docked in West Point and could view a very nice homestead on the hill and sailboat in the harbor.

We landed around 8:45, and started a leisurely walk up a short hill and flat lands to the other side of the island, where we got into a queue. This was the first queue we had had on a landing, and it was due to them wanting to limit the number of people getting close to the black-browed albatross colony and their chicks. We waited about 15 minutes and then it was our turn to go down through a winding path into tussock grass, where we were able to get quite close to the Albatross nests and chicks. There were adult Albatrosses here and there, along with many constantly swooping overhead. They are magnificent birds, and some of my favorites as I enjoy how large they are.

Check out this short video to get a sense of the environment and sounds:

We then walked back the way we came, had a chance to peek into the garden of the homestead, and then back to the ship.

Between landings we made our usual rounds to the science center to get the quote of the day and our course plotted on the map.

We also did our normal boot cleaning, and now that our journey was winding down we found ourselves more and more attached to the gear we had to return to Hurtigruten.

The last excursion of our trip was on New Island, one of the furthest islands west of the Falkland group of islands. We were welcomed by some dusky dolphins as we headed to the landing, and CJ remarked how funny it was that dolphins had sent us on our way, and were now appearing again at the end of our journey. The water was indelibly aquamarine, casting a nice backdrop against a shipwreck.

The homestead on this island was also very nice, with some stone buildings thrown into the mix that definitely age better than the metal. We walked over a gentle path to the other side of the island where a natural rock amphitheater faced a crack to the open sea. Nestled within the “seats” where Albatrosses, their chicks, and rockhopper penguins. Although the two were separated on different sides like one were for a bride and the other a groom. The honking of the Albatross chicks provided the symphony of the moment. We basked in the site, and simply enjoyed watching all of them. There were also colonies further in the distance in similar rock outcroppings and it was good to see the health of the species on these islands.

On the way back there was a tiny little museum to visit that was actually very well done for what it was, mainly one room with 6 info graphics to read the history of New Island. We saw some oystercatchers searching on the shore for snacks as we walked back lamenting that this wild long adventure was coming to an end.

Here’s a map of New Island:

Food recap for the day:

  • Lunch: CJ started with a quinoa and tofu salad that had the ginger she had been craving the night before, then we both enjoyed a sweetcorn soup with tempura shrimp, and finished with our main of penne pasta with meat balls.
  • Dinner: I started with an okay ceviche and CJ had a lentil salad. I then moved on to the lentil salad while CJ had a very ducky duck consommé soup. The main course was dal (lentils) with some thick sort of naan type bread, but bizarrely no rice. It also didn’t have much spice, flavor or heat. I ended with some strawberry sorbet, which had been one of the more okay things for dessert and a good palate cleanser.

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