November 16th - West Point and Carcass Islands, the Falklands

-We had an early breakfast and disembarked by Zodiac, which was fairly easy to do. Tim's foot was not feeling too bad. We were in the Rockhoppers Group for going ashore. The groups were to alternate, as only a certain number of people were allowed to leave the ship at one time. We saw Commerson's dolphins, which are black and white, playing around the Zodiacs.

Going ashore at West Point Island in the Zodiac.

West Point was a bleak, Scottish-looking place with flowering gorse everywhere. We saw a small Union Jack!

We had a dry landing on to a small pier and then walked in our group uphill and then on flatter ground for 1.2 miles with our leader, Denise.

Looking back down on to the bay with the Prince Albert II at anchor and one of the Zodiacs heading for the shore.

As we walked up the hill from the bay, we came across a a flock of striated kara-kara birds, members of the crow family. One of the bird experts said he had never before seen so many in one place.

I liked this photo!

There was rain in the air, but it was quite mild. We arrived at a colony of nesting black-browed albatross and rockhopper penguins. We climbed down the hill and were so close to them that we were able to take fabulous photos.


We also saw Upland geese with goslings.

We returned via the house of the Napier family who have lived on West Falkland for generations. We all went into the house in small groups and had tea and delicious homemade cakes, scones, jam tarts and biscuits.

We went back to the ship and had to clean our boots thoroughly before lunch. We had salmon in lemon butter sauce with John, Maureen, Ray and Jeanette (from England) and then we were off again, heading for Carcass Island. The sea was quite rough as we tried to get into the Zodiacs to go ashore, where we had a wet landing on to a beautiful white sandy beach.

We had a welcoming party of Gentoo penguins as we set off on our walk with Chris, one of the bird experts.

There are no rats, cats or other predators on the island and so there is an amazing selection of birds - Magellanic penguins, oystercatchers, skuas, kelp gulls, long-tailed meadowlarks (with a bright red breast), ruddy-headed geese and tussock birds.

A skua sitting in the grass, quite unperturbed by our presence.

We walked for about 2 and a half miles with Pauline and Peter and also Maria from San Francisco. We crossed another fabulous beach and then had a long walk uphill looking out over the bay where our ship was moving round to the settlement where we were to have tea and cakes.

As we walked along the path above the beach, we saw this long-tailed meadowlark sitting on a fence post.

We saw turkey vultures as we approached the house.

The occupants were a friendly couple. The man, Rob McGill, was a sheep farmer. We chatted to them for quite a while and had another wonderful tea with enough cakes and biscuits to feed a hundred people.

Our trip back in the Zodiac was in very choppy water and Tim and I, at the front of the boat, were absolutely drenched. Whenever we hit the wake of the other Zodiacs, I felt as if I was going to get thrown overboard. Back on board, we had to disinfect our boots and clean them thoroughly, in order to avoid taking seeds and so on from one island to another. After a de-briefing in the theatre, Tim and I were guests at the Captain's table, together with John, Marty, Stephen, Mary, Susan, Glenn, Jennifer and Matt. Once again, very good food.

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