Our first day of exploration in the Falklands was fabulous! We started our morning landing in Saunders Island, at a white sandy beach that looked just like one from the Caribbean, but without the same water temperature perhaps.
We hiked up the hill towards the bird nesting colonies. Some of us took a ride with local residents of the island on their 4x4 vehicles, learning what it’s like to live in these islands. Birds flew overhead, building their nests and caring for eggs. We saw nests right on the cliff edges, where black browed albatrosses displayed their courtship behavior.
Continuing along the cliff top, we encountered a very active and noisy rockhopper penguin breeding colony. They jumped from rock to rock making their way down the cliff edge to the sea. Falkland imperial shags collected plant material for their nests, landing with incredible precision amongst the rockhopper colony. Heading back to the ship, Commerson’s dolphins rode the bow of our Zodiacs.
During lunch we repositioned to Carcass Island for long and medium hikes and photo walks. The long hike began on the beach and went through a variety of bird habitats. Many people enjoyed the Gentoo colony, others were intrigued with the Magellanic penguins standing outside their borrows, and the goslings of the adorable kelp and upland geese had many fans. Even the striated caracaras, usually so threatening, were sociable.
At the end of our excursions, we had a magnificent teatime waiting for us with many kinds of cookies, cakes, and scones. Meanwhile, the undersea team explored the underworld, where the water was a balmy 7 degrees Celsius, the warmest temperature they will experience this entire voyage.