We awoke on our last day of landings to expedition leader Russ Evans inviting us up to breakfast in preparation for a long day of adventure in the Falkland Islands. Our first stop of the day was Grave Cove, a beautiful little sheltered beach brimming with birdlife on mainland West Falklands. At 8:30, the team was ready to receive us ashore. We loaded into Zodiacs in the brilliant sunshine and enjoyed a quick transit to the beach. The beach was beautiful with fine white sand and clear turquoise water; it could easily be misidentified as a tropical location. On the beach, landowner Marie Del met us and invited us on a short walk through the valley to the beach on the other side. On both beaches, small colonies of Gentoo penguins sat on their eggs in the sunshine, quietly observing us as we hiked across the landscape. On the way, we observed several ponds with a variety of birdlife residing along the edges. We were treated to sights of brent geese and upland geese with their goslings, as well as crested ducks, Magellanic oystercatchers, striated caracara (Johnny rooks), and long-tailed meadowlarks. Gentoo penguins came ashore in tumbling groups, providing opportunities to take wonderful photos. Soon it was time to make our way back to the landing site. We said goodbye to Marie and loaded back into our Zodiacs, returning just in time for lunch.
Due to the beautiful weather, the galley team moved lunch to deck 8, so we could enjoy the wonderful views. As we approached the settlement of West Point Island, we were stunned by views of the historic buildings and gorse bushes in full bloom. It was a little windier than earlier, but we loaded into our Zodiacs and without too much splashing, we arrived at the jetty to explore the island. The caretakers of the island, Kiki and Tees, met us as we disembarked and welcomed us to the island. Some guests took off for a long hike across the island to an impressive black-browed albatross colony on the coastline. Others loaded into two Land Rovers to travel to the albatross colony. Once we arrived, we enjoyed sneaking in amongst the six foot tussac bogs to get a good view of the albatross on their nests. Nearby, rockhopper penguins noisily bickered. Silently hidden in the long grass, we watched these beautiful animals interact with each other in preparation for breeding. After some time, we started to make our way back to the settlement where Kiki had prepared a huge spread of freshly brewed tea and homemade cakes. We enjoyed our tea chatting with her in the kitchen or sitting out in the garden in the sunshine. It was a brilliant ending to our last landing.
Soon it was time to head back. We loaded up again and returned to the ship ready for the night’s events. We enjoyed final recap followed by an amazing dinner before returning to the ice lounge for a wonderful show put on by the ship’s crew. They were amazing! We laughed, and some of us danced the night away. It was the perfect ending to our Falklands adventure.