Bahia Cánepa and Franklin Bay

Mar 12, 2020 - National Geographic Orion


Our second full day on this remote and wild island brought the opportunity to explore an ice-carved fjord called Caleta Capitán Cánepa. What a morning! South American fur seals, a southern elephant seal weaner, and South American sea lions cavorted around the Zodiacs. An otter family was sighted both in the water and along the shoreline near a rushing waterfall. Rock and imperial shags, steamer ducks, striated caracarás, Magellanic penguins, and Andean condors were sighted within these protected waters. The steep cliffs and narrow channels made for incredible photographic opportunities! The morning simply flew by with each new discovery.

Our afternoon landing took us to Franklin Bay, on the southewest side of Isla de Los Estados. Here we encountered rock Hopper penguins by the hundreds. The bay is also the site of a circa 1970 mass stranding of long-finned pilot whales. The bones strewn along the beach above the high tide line bore testament to the tragedy that occurred here some 50 years ago. Wild and windy, the entire day brought nothing but new delights!

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About the Author

Michael Nolan

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Michael Nolan was born in Bitburg, Germany to an Air Force family stationed there. His first experience of the ocean came at age 12, when he learned to snorkel in the Italian Mediterranean. At age 17 he moved to Tucson, Arizona and became a PADI SCUBA instructor, before starting a SCUBA diving business that specialized in diving trips to the Sea of Cortez.

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