After our first landing on New Island earlier that day, we awaited our visit to Carcass Island with anticipation. During the sailing, the wind picked up, and for us kayakers, this meant that our first excursion had to be postponed. But as soon as we landed on the beach with a zodiac, we forgot about that minor disappointment. A group of Gentoo penguins was waiting for us, as if a welcoming committee. With the sunlight shining on the beach, the light was great, and many of us went on our bellies to have a better view. The black and white penguins with their characteristic red bill contrasted perfectly against the blue sky and sea, and the yellow sand. Just lying on the sand gave us ample opportunity to watch the penguins play, go into the surf, and of course, do their waddly walk.
Our ship sailed off, reminding us we still had to walk to where we would catch the zodiacs back again. On a small marshland just off the beach, we saw more Gentoos, but also Magellanic penguins as well as other birds, like the brownish skua, which feeds on penguins. We could have stayed longer, but continued through the tussocks towards another, wider and longer beach on the other side of Carcass Island. The sun was on its long way down, and shining directly on the beach, and against the backdrop of the waves reflecting the bright sunlight, silhouettes of Magellanic penguins were frolicking in the surf. The wind was blowing foam over the hard sand of the beach: it was low tide and the beach was wide. At the other side of the beach lied our ship; a nice walk over the beach and through the tussock area higher up awaited us. It turned out to hold surprises in the form of beautiful birds, small and large: Carcass Island does not have rats or other introduced animals, and birdlife is rich.
The name Carcass Island conjured up all kinds of associations with sesling or whaling, or other deathly activities, but it is actually named for the British vessel which surveyed the island in the mid 18th century. While it was considered a landing site in the Falkland War in 1982, it escaped an invasion and remains as quiet as it has ever been. Our short zodiac ride back to our ship held more exciting surprises in the form of large pods of Commerson dolphins riding our bow wave; our driver went crazy, circling around, trying to chase the playful creatures. After I was back on deck, I watched the fast swimmers until we sailed away: the Commersons were apparently very happy with our presence and continued jumping around the zodiacs and our ship.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Carcass Island (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Carcass Island.
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