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11/10/2007

New Island and Carcass Island
Falkland Islands

There were two walks on offer for our morning visit to New Island. The long, 2 mile, walk visited a cove to see fur seals, and continued over the island to link up with the short, ½ mile, walk at a mixed nesting colony of black-browed albatrosses, rockhopper penguins and blue-eyed shags. It was interesting to compare the lifestyles of the three kinds of birds. The penguins demonstrated how appropriately they are named by hopping up a near vertical cliff face to get to their nests; the shags fly to and fro on short, stubby wings; and the long-winged albatrosses, that are supreme gliders, were having difficulty taking-off and landing in the calm conditions.

By the time we had to return to the landing place, it was raining but the sun was beginning to shine again when we went ashore for our afternoon walk at Carcass Island. For birdwatchers this is one of the best landing places in all the Falkland Islands. The hike started off through a tussock grass 'forest', where magellanic penguins nest in burrows, and continued as an easy walk along a Land Rover track around to the farm of Rob and Lorraine McGill. Here we enjoyed one of the best afternoon teas in the world. The weather was warm enough to sit outside in the shelter of pine trees and, amazingly, palm trees. Lurking around were a dozen caracaras and some tussock birds and Falkland thrushes, all eager for any crumbs that might be thrown their way. Only when we got down to the shore did we realise that the wind had risen and there would be a choppy ride back to Explorer II. It was an introduction to the capabilities of the zodiac boats and the way that the drivers and ship's crew operate to ensure maximum comfort and safety.




   

We took a lovely hike New Island, West Falklands, viewing Seals, Albatross and Penguins.

Taking a Zodiac trip to Carcass Island in the afternoon

Expedition team and Guests enjoy Falkland Islands hospitality

At Captains welcome, South Africa remind England who won the Rugby World Cup.


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