Friday, 25 November 2011

It just gets better!

Yesterday in the mid-evening the intrepid Torres del Paine visitors returned to the ship. We did not have a chance yesterday to show any images from that trip so here are a few.

Today, we had a very early start when we landed at Isla Magdelena in the Strait of Magellan to the northeast of Punta Arena. We spent the early morning there, enjoying the calm conditions and eventual sun. Of course the good weather was only a backdrop, albeit welcome, to the main attraction- the huge (ca. 70,000 pairs) colony of Magellanic Penguins that call Magdalena their home for a few months each year. Neighbours to the penguins were Kelp Gulls and skuas.

We were back on-board at 0900 and we started steaming back south, through the Chilean Fiords. For the normally wet and misty fiords, the weather was marvelous. In the afternoon we approached Tucker Island to observe the breeding birds there. However, when we arrived we had a great surprise- a family of Andean Condors were perched in a dead tree, on the ground, and soaring overhead! We spent about 30 minutes watching these great, iconic birds. It was hard to leave the island but as we did, a large pod of Peale's Dolphins followed us and took our minds off the birds!

Later in the day we navigated the narrow Gabriel Channel. In places, the land each side of us came close and we could make out individual trees, waterfalls, and birds along the shore. Save for one lonely fishing boat there was not a single mark of humans on the cold but appealing landscape.