Two days out of Ushuaia, Argentina enroute to the West Falkland weren’t spent sleeping, starting with 7:45 a.m. wake-up calls. The Marine animal specialist, Annie, did presentations on seals and whales while our ornithologist, Adrian, helped us identify birds of the Falklands and South Georgia Islands. Acacia, our photography guide taught us how to capture the perfect photo. Woody presented the history of the Falkland islands.
They tried to prepare us for the amazing experience on our morning landing at Westpoint Island and the afternoon landing at Saunders, which was quite the task. Westpoint has a booming summer population of four people and black-browed nesting Albatross and Rockhopper penguins by the thousands along the cliffs. We had to be careful walking to not step on these smallest (but most noisy) penguins or the endangered albatross that mate for life with their partners.
In the afternoon, the ship sailed to Saunders Island, site of the first English settlement in 1765. It is now home to 11,000 breeding pairs of black-browed albatross and five penguin species. The way I keep them straight:
Rockhopper–noisy and yellow brows
Gentoo–look like they have red lipstick and they are quite funny to watch as they steal rocks from other nests. They are quite animated.
Megellanic–live in burrows and bray like a donkey
Macaroni–Have a Donald Trump hairstyle and other mannerisms of the Trumpster.
King–tallest penguin in the Falklands (only the emperor is bigger) with orange markings. Juveniles are fluffy brown and must molt before they can enter the water to eat. Some of them are larger than their parents. Apparently, molting is a miserable experience as they seem to be shunned or perhaps depressed.
We also saw whale bones above the beach and two predators–the Skua looking so sweet with the baby chick (but they are quite vicious) and the Striated Caracara just waiting for a baby penguin left alone.