Location: Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
Today was all about penguins! We woke up early this morning to leave for our excursion on the Falkland Islands. We took a tender from the ship to the pier at Port Stanley. There we boarded a land rover and rode for Volunteer Beach 47 miles away. The first 32 miles went by quickly on paved and gravel roads. We were making great time on for a trip that was supposed to take 2.5 hours. Then we realized that the last 12 miles were going to be off road, on uneven cratered peat moss gound. It was a very bumpy hour long ride, but with our experienced driver, we made it there safely.
The trip was well worth it. Volunteer beach is home to three rookeries of King, Gentoo and Magellanic penguins. It is the largest King penguin colony in the Falklands, and the northern most rookery in the world. We were able to see hundreds of king penguins and hundreds more Gentoos and Megellanics. The four year old child in Ryan really came out.
Words can’t describe the cuteness of the penguins, so this small selection of photos should speak volumes.
We hope to upload more photos in the coming days, particularly during the “at sea” days when we normally don’t take many photos.
We only had about one and a half hours at Volunteer beach. Sadly, we had to return to Port Stanley so that we could get back to the ship and make way to Antartica.
Aside from the penguins!, we also went below 50S last night, thus making our transition into the Furious Fifties, so known becuase of how fierce the winds blow. And upon making the Falkland islands, we have now also made it to sub-antarctic climates.
While we were out looking at cute penguins, the Infinity was being refuled. During the operation, the refueling ship collided with one of the arms used to lower the tender boats. The arms were stuck in a down position, rendering the ship “unsafe” to sail. Celebrity made the decision to abandon the tender at the Falklands, since we still have sufficient lifeboats to continue onward and continue with the trip. It wasn’t an easy fix and at 4:00 am the next morning that we started onward again.
Tomorrow, we will be make our first Drake Passage crossing south. With so much time to make up and a storm brewing, we may be in for some rough seas.
Today’s Weather: Partly Cloudy High 56F (wind chill 45), low 45F
Penguin species seen: King, Gentoo, Magellanic