Carcass & West Point Islands, Falklands

Mar 06, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer


The morning was gray with light rain. We sat just off a long, sandy beach at Carcass Island—named for a ship, not a body. After breakfast, long-distance hikers headed to shore where they passed a Magellanic penguin on their route. Beyond the beach, one can climb to the top of a ridge to explore the heath and the great slabs of lichen-covered rocks or just meander along the slope.

While long-distance guests hiked, National Geographic Explorer headed to a protected, natural harbor in front of the Carcass Island settlement. From there, the rest of the hikers and those on a photo walk headed out.

The hikers reconvened mid-morning in a house where a mid-morning tea has been prepared. There was tea and coffee, as well as a huge table covered with various cakes, cookies, and scones. After eating our fill, we noticed the sun had come out. After lunch we headed to nearby West Point Island, a special place where we were given choices: walk or ride in a Land Rover to the top of the island and to the other side to see a steep slope, the Devil’s Nose, and colonies of black-browed albatross and rockhopper penguins! It was a great place for photos and just looking around.

The plants and lichens there were extraordinary. There were not many flowers as it was fall in the southern hemisphere, but there were lots of interesting shapes and colors and most everything is miniature—too low to appreciate when standing up straight. We spent much of our time crawling around, making discoveries, and capturing images.

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About the Author

Dennis Cornejo

Naturalist

Dennis began scuba diving during the mid-1970s as part of a research project. At the time he was a research associate at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona, studying the population of winter hibernating sea turtles.  What began as a scientific study soon became a conservation project that expanded to three species of sea turtles along the entire Pacific coast of Mexico.  This project received major funding from the World Wildlife Fund and was eventually taken over directly by that agency with Kim Clifton and Dennis Cornejo as co-principal investigators.

About the Photographer

Carl Erik Kilander

Naturalist

Carl was born in Norway and received a master’s degree in forestry and nature conservation from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in 1973. His professional experience is mainly connected to environmental issues and natural resource management on the Norway mainland and in Svalbard. A major part of his professional experience comprises planning and management of protected areas, particularly in the southern parts of Norway and Svalbard. During the period 1999-2001 Carl was Head of the Environmental Department at the Governor of Svalbard´s office. He has also been District Manager (southwestern Norway) followed by the position of Senior Environmental Adviser at the Norwegian State Forest Service.

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