Yes, Isla de los Estados is Magical and beautiful and the coolest place most people have never heard of, but each trip is also different as the weather in the south doesn’t allow for strict itinerary planning. Here the weather is king and anyone who thinks otherwise will suffer the consequences. Because of exceptionally good weather, we left from Ushuaia and went directly to Isla de los Estados. And because the weather was so perfect and the tides were right we dropped anchor in Bahia Franklin – home of a colony of Rockhopper penguins or as Fede calls them “the cool penguins” because they have the Colorful cool bright colored feather / eye brows. So we landed and hiked up to the colony to watch. Sitting and watching penguins is the best – as you start to watch the dynamics of the colony and of individual penguins play out. Here most of the penguins were on a nest –
nests they had built out of the grasses surrounding their small rocky outcrops. Most were hunkered down protecting their eggs and keeping them warm, but every once and a while they required a re-position or a pesky neighbor would swing by and as they got up, we’d catch a glimpse of the eggs below. At least one we spied two eggs. I just did some quick reading about rockhopper penguins and it turns out they generaly lay two eggs, but the first one is almost always smaller. Fantastic morning – stay tuned for photos once we are back.
Also on the beach we found a scattered collection of small whale vertebrae and two skulls. Isla de los Estados is such a place of discovery – its not a museum where everything is the same and its carefully placed in a box. Here the sands, the winds, the tides, change everything day to day and season to season – you never know what will wash up or be unearthed.
There were also a handful of deer antlers and skulls as deer were introduced in the 70’s and have happily taken over parts of the island.
Again – the winds and tides were in our favor, so we ventured to a new spot for us – Bahia Canepa. We had heard that it was beautiful and indeed it was – rounded granite (thank you glaciers) and tiny long thin water falls that never made it to the ground, but instead created a spectrum of “rain” drops above us (which the sun magically shone through creating a sky of crystals). Our guests will think Isla de los Estados is always like this – no wind, blue skies – we’ve been incredibly lucky this trip –so this whole bay / fjord was enjoyed with the sun gleaming off the granite and blue skies against the mountains. Not a bad place to spend the night!
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