Overnight, we made our way to San Juan de Salvamento Bay, located at the very northeast end of Isla de los Estados (Staten Island). This is the location of the very first lighthouse in Argentina and in austral waters; it was built in 1884. It is also called the Lighthouse at the End of the World, as the lighthouse inspired Jules Verne’s famous book of the same name, which was published posthumously in 1905.
At the break of dawn, we were already in the bay. We were greeted by a view of the lighthouse, which is a replica donated to Argentina by a French team in 1998. The original is being restored in Ushuaia.
A chilly morning with calm waters and beautiful sunny weather made for a great landing, and expedition members of National Geographic Endurance enjoyed a steep, beautiful walk to the lighthouse. We had staggering views of the various bays that make up this corner of the island. We were also greeted by the sight of caracaras, steamer ducks, kelp geese, and other birds.
The morning was glorious. On the drive to Puerto Hoppner, we were in awe as we took in the views of the north shores of Staten Island, which reminded us of South Georgia. We were lucky enough to spot albatrosses, giant petrels, and Peale’s dolphins!
Nothing, however, could have prepared us for the majesty and beauty of Puerto Hoppner. We spent the afternoon in this remote bay scouting for wildlife. We were welcomed by views of steamer ducks, cormorants, and turkey vultures all set within the majesty of the snowcapped mountains. Today was a day to remember.