5th April: Falkland Islands (West Point Island) – Abducted by Aliens

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Eeerraaark, eeeerraaarkk!

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Penny the Ground-Painted was always telling anyone who would listen about being abducted by aliens and she had the silver bracelets on her ankles to prove it.  Erica the Red-Eyed was not impressed.

Erica lives at 3,000 steps up in Noisy Delirium Circle.  It’s a long walk up from the harbor frontage.

  • Trudge, trudge, hop, hop, wait for a crowd to gather then big hop, trudge, trudge …
  • Ethelbert the Elegantly Absurd:  “This is my patch.  What are you doing on my patch? You can’t have it.”; Erica: “I’m just passing through.  I live at 3,000 steps up in Noisy Delirium Circle, about 40 steps from the end of Sky Mountain Street.  Let me through.”
  • another couple of steps …
  • Dionysius the Disheveled:  “This is my patch.  What are you doing on my patch? I won’t let you take it.”; Erica: “I’m just passing through.  I live at 3,000 steps up in Noisy Delirium Circle, about 40 steps from the end of Sky Mountain Street.  Let me through.”
  • another couple of steps …
  • Ignatius the Punk:  “This is my patch.  What are you doing on my patch? It’s not yours.”; Erica: “I’m just passing through.  I live at 3,000 steps up in Noisy Delirium Circle, about 40 steps from the end of Sky Mountain Street.  Let me through.”
  • And so it goes …

Eventually, Erica reaches her elite apartment high in the sky.  It was actually built by Eustace the soarer and Wendy the wave-kisser when Noisy Delerium Circle was still called Black-Browed Hilltop.  According to rumour, Wendy was last seen going for a dive behind a fishing boat and Eustace now hangs out in a different part of the City, often disrupting other couples by trying to hassle for a new partner.

Erica’s young son, Diogenes the Slightly Deranged, is now bigger than her.  “What’s for dinner?”  “Fish.” Lots of noisy celebration of the return.  “What’s for dinner?”  “Fish.” Heads down and screeching sounds. “What’s for dinner?”  “Fish.”  This goes on for a while.

Our legends tell of the giant black were-penguins that devastated our communities hundreds of generations ago.  Today we were visited by friendly aliens from the planet Ostr.  Earlier we visited their space craft as it lay on the sea and what a lot of space it seemed to contain.  We also bounced up and down out of the water beside their landing craft to get a good look at them as they came in.  These Ostr aliens are giant multicoloured hump-backed penguins and while they keep a respectable distance, they also allowed us to come right up and look at them.

Pity about Penny the ground-painted.  Last time we saw her she was heading off to a pair of sea lions to tell them how she had been abducted by aliens.

>>>>>>

Eeerraaark, eeeerraaarkk!

>>>>>>

… And so it was in the afternoon that we disembarked at West Point Island.  Michael, the Island’s caretaker, greeted us and generously provided a Land Rover bus service to the black-browed albatross and rockhopper penguin colony and also a service back, later in the afternoon.  This was much appreciated by those of us who were disinclined to venture far.  There was a much higher proportion of albatrosses to penguins than in the previous day at New Island and it was very easy to get quite close.

A few people took a long scenic trek and another group elected to climb an impressive hill in the other direction.  Though it was very windy at the cliff where the albatrosses were, it was very calm at the top of the large hill where a spectacular panoramic view presented itself.  There were also hundreds of albatrosses sitting out on the water.

Layered rocks on the cliff edge

Panorama looking back from the cliff top

Rock striations

The wild coast far below

Hundreds of black-browed albatrosses bobbing on the waves

A view in late afternoon light while walking back

Back at the “farm”, Jeanette put on a lavish afternoon tea and there was also the distraction of a dead ship on the beach as well as anchors and other marine debris.  There was also another afternoon tea on the beach attended by six turkey vultures and eighteen cara cara.

Anchors on the beach

Cara caras and turkey vultures (red heads) at the farm's carcase disposal point

Wreck on the beach

Cara cara, guardian of the wreck

Then a calm and easy return to the ship but the day was not finished yet.  Dinner was a barbeque on deck with loud dance music, mainly rock & roll and 60s pop.  Everyone donned strange headgear and there were exuberant displays of dancing by passengers, Aurora staff and the Russian crew.  Michael and Jeanette attended from the Island and may have wondered what strange universe they had arrived in.

… And I forgot to mention – a fin whale was visible from the ship feeding and with attendant seabirds for about 20 minutes though only the earliest of us back got to see this.

5th April: Falkland Islands (Carcass Island)

This morning we arrived at Carcass Island.  On arriving on the Island we were greeted by the residents Rob & Wendy McGill and treated to an amazing morning tea with vast array of delectables including ginger biscuits, neenish tarts and lamingtons.

We also received an enthusiastic welcome from the inquisitive cara caras (a small Falklands raptor also known as Johnny Rook there) who quickly volunteered to be guardians of our equipment.

Cara caras

Cara cara

Cara Cara

Cara caras settling who gets to try on the boots

Most of our expeditions have involved trekking off to commune with mass aggregations of wildlife.  This morning was more a case of sitting down quietly somewhere and waiting for the wildlife to come to you.  Apart from the cara caras, for me this included cormorants, ducks, a night heron, upland geese and gentoo penguins.  The cormorants were in great numbers around the wharf and the ducks could be amazingly well camouflaged amongst the debris on the beach.  Returning to the ship provided a bumpy ride and then an exciting moment or two as the zodiac rose or fell three or four feet from the landing platform on each wave.

Falklands steamer duck

Night heron

Kelp Gull

Rock Cormorants (bonding)

Four ducks camouflaged amongst flotsam and jetsam