In the morning, guests walked to the Rockhopper Penguin colony on New Island in the Falklands where Black-browed Albatrosses and Blue-eyed Shags also nest.
With their wild head feathers, the Rockhopper Penguins are truly endearing!
Guests found respite from the wind in the thick tussock grass while photographing the Black-browed Albatrosses.
It was a privilege to see the elegant and striking Black-browed Albatross up close at the colony!
After an incredible visit to the seabird colony, guests walked back across New Island for the zodiac ride back to Le Boreal.
New Island, Falkland Islands
Anyone awake at 0500 was delighted to find the sea was delightfully calm but, a couple of hours later, the wind had risen so that it was blowing hard by the time we reached New Island after breakfast. This meant that we had a rather wet ride ashore to the tiny settlement.
We were soon climbing ashore on a sandy beach where upland and kelp geese, Patagonian crested ducks and the inquisitive tussock bird were in evidence. Once ashore, we were met by the island's inhabitants: Georgina Strange and Tony and Kim Chater and the latters' small children.
New Island became an important base for American whalers and sealers in the late 18th century and was named "New" after New Bedford, New York and other New England places. Once given over to raising sheep and seriously overgrazed and eroded, the island is now being managed for wildlife.
Our objective was a walk of about half a mile to a cliff colony of black-browed albatrosses, rockhopper penguins and king shags. The wind was blowing fiercely over the cliff and the albatrosses and shags were floating to and from their nests on the strong upcurrents. But we were most impressed by the rockhopper penguins who were swimming in the pounding surf and leaping ashore as the waves crashed onto the rocks. Once on terra firma, they demonstrated how appropriately they are named by hopping up near vertical cliff face to get to their nests.
When we arrived back at the shore, there was time to buy postcards, patches, paintings, stamp covers, books and other items of the Stranges' and Chaters' work before we returned to the ship.
The wind had continued to rise and was now gale force but Le Boreal was still moving on an even keel. However, when we got to Carcass Island it was clear that it was too rough to attempt a landing at the settlement. So Captain Lemaire took the ship around the corner to find a sheltered spot. There was no luck here but one zodiac was able to get to the shore to pick up the immigration officer to clear the ship in and out of the Falkland Islands and stamp our passports. By way of consolation some Commerson's dolphins gambolled around the stern of Le Boreal.