Today we had dark skies and a bit of a drizzle but no wind at all—just the right weather for our adventures in Admiralty Sound. We made a very early arrival to the head of Jackson Bay in Karukinka Natural Park, where we were surrounded by the echoing vocalizations of the elephant seals bouncing off the walls of this deep fjord. Later in the morning we visited Albatross Island, the only ‘inland’ albatross colony in the world, to check on the chicks. They’re almost ready to leave their nests; it’s been a successful season which is an incredible feat, in no small proportion due to the care and efforts of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Finally, a rainy afternoon saw as wandering through a magical forest full of birds, lichens, moss, mushrooms, and evergreen trees.
National Geographic Endurance
This morning’s destination was Capitan Canepa Bay, located on the southern end of Isla de los Estados. The entrance to the bay is covered with impressive, rugged cliffs. Southern swells have slowly eroded the cliffs, creating several large sea caves. As the ship proceeded to the end of the fiord, it passed several small bays that were later explored via Zodiac. At the end of one bay, a small waterfall spilled its watershed from a hidden lake sitting above the rocky cliffs and out of our sight. As guests explored the small lagoons and hidden caves, seal pups were often found tucked away in the rocky outcroppings by their worried mothers who were far out to sea. Guests returned to the ship for lunch, and we began our transit to Franklin Bay in pursuit of rockhopper penguins. Upon arrival, a few penguins were spotted in the water. We observed at least a dozen invasive red deer in the surrounding hills and valleys. A small herd of feral goats was discovered in the intertidal zone, evidence of poorly understood introductions in the past. After a ship cruise of Franklin Bay, we departed for Ushuaia to arrive in time for guest disembarkation. The evening closed with presentations by the naturalist staff, the guest slideshow, and the captain’s farewell. After an amazing experience in Southern Patagonia, the trip came to a happy ending.