After a slightly bumpy crossing from Ushuaia to the Falklands, it was a pleasure to have a calm night of rest on the ship. Some of us got up early for the sunrise and views of the islands we would explore in the coming days. It was an exciting first expedition, as we would be landing and exploring New Island all day.
New Island is in the northwestern part of the archipelago and has a rich history of whalers, sealers, and later, sheep farmers. However, it has always been a home for the birds. It is a summer nesting paradise for black-browed albatrosses, rockhoppers, imperial shags, and around 39 species that use this small island as a rookery and refuge. We headed for the Zodiacs and then the beach for a short hike over to the colony. Albatrosses flew close enough to rustle our hair, and the sounds of the colony were an acoustic but joyous overload to the senses. On the way to and from the colony, the upland geese and their troupe of goslings were admired. Smaller passerines also caught the eye of many photographers and birders.
We returned to the ship for a quick lunch and then headed out again. About 60 sturdy hikers took the option to walk four miles across the Island to North Harbour. It was a commitment – a one-way journey with no turning back – as the ship relocated to pick us up on the other side!
En route, Magellanic penguins and South American sea lions were spotted. In the surf on the western side, gentoo penguins and Commerson’s and Peale’s dolphins entertained us. It was a stunning day all around, but it wasn’t over yet. This evening, Captain Pele hosted a welcome cocktail party. We were introduced to several officers and had a cheerful time all around. We headed to bed after another beautiful meal, full of anticipation for the adventures we will have as we explore the wild and rugged coastline of the western Falkland Islands tomorrow.