Carcass Island and west to Ushuaia

Mar 05, 2019 - National Geographic Orion

The Falkland Islands form an archipelago off the Patagonian shelf that is situated in the South Atlantic. Though British owned, Argentina simultaneously maintains its claim to these islands. National Geographic Orion sailed into Stanley on Monday, officially clearing into the UK.

Carcass Island sits at the northwest corner of the West Falkland Island and was named by HMS Carcass, which visited these lands as early as 1766. The island is now managed by a family of sheep farmers. Carcass Island has no rats or cats but does have a number of invasive plant species. One of the few woody areas on the Falklands is composed of Monterey cyprus and New Zealand cabbage palms.

Unlike the island of South Georgia, the Falklands are geologically unique to the South Atlantic. Originally part of the South African coast, this rock broke of millions of years ago and drifted to its present location. Because of its distant origin, the geographical makeup differs greatly from that of neighboring Argentina. The guests of National Geographic Orion were dropped off at Leopard Beach, an area marked by pristine white sand and clear aquamarine water. Hikers took to the hills, making their way along a beautiful path up onto the highest peaks. About 2.5 miles in, hikers found their way to the island’s settlement, composed a few buildings tucked into a protected bay. The locals of this homestead offered delicious home-baked cakes, cookies, tea, and coffee, after which guests had (presumably with reluctance) to hike their way back to the ship.

Making our way to Ushuaia, National Geographic Orion departed from her anchorage and moved on into the wind and swell. Fresh lamb from Carcass Island was prepared by Chef Lothar, a delicious nod to the hard work of citizens of the Falkland Islands.

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About the Author

Alyssa Adler

Undersea Specialist

As a young marine biologist, Alyssa Adler has had the opportunity to work as a diver in many capacities. For several years, she was a dedicated AAUS scientific diver for University of North Carolina on an offshore reef ecology project, and has participated in several of NOAA’s reef survey missions. She has been diving with National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions as an underwater videographer and ocean educator since 2014 and has fostered a love for the poles and extreme cold-water diving, spending most of her time underwater in sub-freezing temperatures.

About the Photographer

Emily Mount

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Emily grew up in Boulder, Colorado and Pullman, Washington. Her love of nature began as a child during family vacations spent hiking, camping and exploring the mountains and deserts of the west. In contrast to her outdoors interests, Emily pursued an intensive young career as a classical violinist, culminating in degrees in history and music performance at the University of Washington.

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