Antarctica Dream Adventure 03 – Penguins At Last, West Point Island

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.

Zodiac approaching West Falkland landing

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 ……..

Photograph of a long-tailed Meadowlark with bright red breast sitting on a vivid yellow gorse bush
Long-tailed Meadowlark on a Gorse Bush

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 beach almost looks tropical.
Gorse is non-native and considered an invasive species

The birds we saw on our hike to the breeding colony

Austral Thrush

Upland Geese

Photograph of a female Upland Goose on the grassland of West Point Island in the Falklands
Female Upland Goose
Striated Caracara
Dark faced Ground tyrant

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)

Southern Rockhopper Penguins
Look you have made our son dirty

See their rock hopping here

Black-browed Albatross (Click here to see complete gallery)

Black browed Albatross

Then to see part 1 of their SHOW click here

Then to see part 2 of their SHOW click here

Exiting from the trail to the breeding colony we finally saw the upland geese with their 5 one day old chicks.

Female Upland Goose with her five 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.

Roddy and Lily Napiers Home

View of Viking Octantis on our return

Crossing the downs on our way to the cup of tea
Viking Octantis at West Point Island from the top of the hill climb

Bio Security

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

If you wish to see Antarctica Dream Adventure 04 – Off-road to Volunteer Point and Penguins click here

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One Response to Antarctica Dream Adventure 03 – Penguins At Last, West Point Island

  1. Fred Schwering says:

    Richard, great photos and videos. I really enjoyed the videos of the albatrosses.

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