We had a great start to our Falkland Islands expedition today! The winds were low and the sun was shining–sunscreen and sunglasses were a must! We made our first landing at Saunders Bay where we saw two new species of penguins–rockhopper and Magellanic. The white sand beaches looked stunning against the turquoise water, a stark contrast to what we have seen on our expedition thus far. In the afternoon, we landed on Carcass Island, named after the HMS Carcass. We had the opportunity to walk up Jason Hill. It was nice to get out and be active after our days at sea. This island has diverse vegetation and an abundance of birds! Caracaras, gentoo penguins, Magellanic penguins, skuas, imperial shags, rock shags, kelp geese, ruddy-head geese, upland geese, blackish oystercatchers, Magellanic oystercatchers, cobb’s wrens, tussacbirds, and more. What a day. And what a time to be alive.
National Geographic Endurance
National Geographic Endurance set sail from the western edge of the Falkland Islands late last evening, and we enjoyed a relaxing day at sea. Guests were treated to smooth seas with plenty of albatrosses soaring about the vessel. The morning was full of educational opportunities. The undersea team shared photos collected while exploring the diverse underwater environments that the Falkland Islands provide. Next came a presentation by marine biologist Connor Ryan who spoke about the dynamics of how plankton and seabirds dictate the ecological rhythms of the upper layer of the ocean. Such a trip as we have had is certainly hard to summarize. Over the past three weeks, we visited some of the most spectacular and densely populated wildlife regions on our planet. Today was a day of reflection, photo editing, fine food, and contemplation of all that has occurred.