Beagle Channel, South Atlantic & New Island

Oct 26, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer

During the night we quietly sailed through the Beagle Channel, and in the early hours of the morning headed through the Le Maire Strait before setting our course for the Falkland Islands. We progressed from calm waters to the jousty strait and then into a head-on sea that got progressively worse for the rest of the day. Well not quite, in the late afternoon the winds dropped and soon the sea conditions began to abate. By dinner time, we were approaching the Falkland Islands, our first landfall being New Island. As with many of the westernmost islands, here the west coast is often made up of dramatic cliffs which gradually slope towards the eastern shoreline, which is often a beautiful, pale yellow quartzite sandy beach. By the end of dinner we were safely anchored off tomorrow’s landing beach and this would mean we could all settle in for a quiet night.

However, this is only part of the story for there were seabirds galore as well as a number of marine mammals spotted on the crossing. We saw fin whales, a solitary humpback whale as well as sea lions and dolphins. But it was undoubtedly the pelagic seabirds that most captivated us as they showed off their utter mastery of the conditions.

The giants of the Southern Ocean were seen all day, wandering albatross as well as northern and southern royal albatross. We tried to get our heads around the fact that all the royal abatross were hatched and reared in New Zealand! Plus, other seabirds were regularly seen throughout the day: pintado petrels, southern giant petrels, southern fulmars, many sooty shearwaters, as well as the small storm petrels.

During the day there was a chance to meet the expedition team as well as several presentations, giving all aboard excellent opportunities to get to know the places we will be visiting a little better.

As the ship lay quietly at anchor under the beautiful evening sunlight we headed for our beds looking forward to the adventures that await us tomorrow.

  • Send

About the Author

Edward Shaw


Edward Shaw has travelled widely as a naturalist and guide. For the past 29 years he has lived with his family in northwestern Patagonia, initially working as a teacher and subsequently working in community projects before returning to expedition ships. Edward is deeply committed to the principles behind sustainable development. He is happily married and the father of five children.

About the Photographer

Steve Morello

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Steve Morello has had a long and colorful career in the natural history world. Born in New Jersey he was lucky to be able to summer on the shores of Cape Cod. Whether it was exploring the tidal pools, snorkeling along the beach, or hiking in the dunes, it all came together to instill in him a deep connection to the natural world. It was no surprise that he would return to the Cape as a whale researcher in his adult years. It was on the Cape that Steve first became involved in guiding, and for 15 years acted as naturalist on whale watching boats in the Gulf of Maine. Steve worked with groups creating environmental education material for school programs and soon found another one of his passions, photography.

Get our newsletter

Join us for updates, insider reports & special offers.

Privacy Policy