Waking in the protected harbor of San Juan de Salvamento, we began our operations for the day in true Patagonia weather: a bit cloudy with strong winds. We took our Zodiacs to the landing to visit the “Lighthouse at the End of the World.” After a winding hike through low southern beech trees, we crested the top and were treated to a view of the cliffs below and an ever-present fog hanging just above our heads. After lunch, we sailed back to pick up a few researchers we had dropped off in Isla de los Estados a few days prior. The conditions looked favorable, so we were able to make a short Zodiac cruise to see steep cliffs with nesting rockhopper penguins.
National Geographic Explorer
Franklin Bay, our first stop in the morning, proved to be too much for us to make a landing. Winds gusting to 50 knots are regular in these latitudes and we had to go to plan B. Cánepa Bay proved to be well-protected from the “furious fifties” and we explored this magnificent fjord system for several hours. In the afternoon our plans to visit another location were interrupted by a group of killer whales that was prowling the rocky coasts where several hundred South American fur seals were resting, afraid of getting into the water. After an hour of quiet observation, the whales finally decided to catch one of the seals, right under our bow! The day ended on the sheltered waters of Puerto Cook, our intended destination for tomorrow morning.