Saunders Island presented a bit of a challenge as the swells and wind chop at the rocky ledges made for big steps getting in or out of the Polarcirkle boats. But certainly the landing was worth any minor difficulties as the sunshine and relatively warm temperatures made for a pleasant walk through a very large colony of Gentoo Penguins with big Caracara birds on patrol for easy pickings. On the nearby hillside there were Magellanic Penguins with their nesting burrows and several flocks of Upland Geese. We also visited a large colony of Rockhopper Penguins and adjacent were some Cormorants. On our way back to the landing site we passed the bones of a whale and we learned this animal had washed up on the beach, dead and the bones were then re-assembled by the islands residents for us to see.
Carcass Island continued our most pleasant day. We had the opportunity for a long walk around the bay to a colony of Gentoo Penguins. Farther on there was an overlook and we saw a penguin being devoured by a South American sea lion. While it was not nature in action there was a great deal of action around the large dining table in the settlement lodge as it covered with all kinds of tasty cakes and cookies and scones. There was tea or coffee to wash the goodies down and we returned to the ship for dinner is a ‘less than starving condition’.
Several of us set up tents and camped overnight on the island. The winds decreased during the night and ground was soft. Best of all the evening was cloud free and we could see more stars than could be imagined. Most of the constellations our not familiar to those of us raised in the northern hemisphere but there was one constellation we could recognize and that was Orion. Yes his belt and knife were a bit upside dome from our home view but there he was. We were also quite sure we could identify the Southern Cross. Morning arrived and we quickly packed up the tents and sleeping bags and returned to the FRAM as we headed for our next and last island landing at Westpoint.