Landing at West Point Island in the Falklands
The Falkland Islands are a remote South Atlantic archipelago.
Although the Falkland Islands are not deemed part of Antarctica, they are a British overseas territory, it was a thrill to be landing in such a famous place. West Point Island, situated on West Falkland Island, is owned by Roddy and Lily Napier and run as a sheep farm and a tourist attraction.
This shore outing had the promise to take us to view our first penguins and we were all excited. This was our first transfer from Octantis to shore in a zodiac boat. Each zodiac had adventurers and one expedition member as the operator. We transferred from the zodiac as a dry landing by getting onto the jetty.
We were greeted by Roddy and Lily as their first visitors of the season and they made us feel welcome. Seeing my cameras, Lily told me of the meadow lark with the bright red chest and if I was really lucky I would get the best shot of it perched on the top of the glorious gorse bushes that were now in peak yellow flower.
One hundred yards later ……..
J.J. the Expedition Leader had described this excursion as 1.2 miles each way and it would start with a steep uphill climb, after which it would level out and be easier. The hike was exactly as J.J. stated. The initial climb was hard, but then it was comfortable for the rest of the 2.4 miles.
As we set off Lily also said that the Upland Geese eggs had hatched the day before so we should look out for some little chicks on the way. We did note that there were lots of upland geese right at the start of our hike.
The View from the top of the hill
The birds we saw on our hike to the breeding colony
We had now reached the entry point to the breeding colony having seen lots of Upland Geese, but no chicks!
West Point Breeding Colony
Rock-hopper Penguins (Click here to see complete gallery)
Exiting from the trail to the breeding colony we finally saw the upland geese with their 5 one day old chicks.
Our Just Rewards
At the end of the hike Roddy and Lily invited us for a nice cup of tea and their vast selection of home made cakes and biscuits. It was great to sit and enjoy a cup of real English tea. The cakes were just delicious.
View of Viking Octantis on our return
As we were getting ready to get on the zodiac we walk through a scrubbing machine with a cleansing liquid in order to kill anything that might be on the soles of the boots.
When we returned to Octantis the bottoms of our boots were power washed and then we walked through the scrubbing machine again. The bottoms of the boots were inspected and if there was remnants from the hike, replacement boots were issued.
Gear: Nikon Z 8, Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S, Nikkor Z TC-1.4x, iPhone SE