The uninhabited island known as Steeple Jason stands out among the archipelago of the western Falkland Islands as one of the most spectacular and thrilling to visit. The coastal flats around the rugged peaks are host to the largest breeding colony of black-browed albatrosses in the world, but the island is very exposed to the huge swells of the South Atlantic, so it can be visited only in the very best conditions. After a successful landing on this remarkable place, we moved on to New Island, where we visited another breeding site for albatross and rockhopper penguins, perched on the edge of a cliff high above the ocean that stretches from there to South America.
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.