Antarctica 2009 Trip

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Antarctica 2009 Trip

Steeple Jason

It's a strange name for a remote island to the north west of the Falkland group. Elongated with towering cliffs in the centre, the western side is home to a colony of black-browed albatros. Not just a few albatros, but tens of thousands of them, sitting carefully atop dirt mounds, waiting for their eggs to hatch.

Looking south, Steeple Jason, Falkland Islands

When we arrived, we weren't sure if the weather was to be kind enough to allow a landing. Low clouds and snow were swirling around the peaks on all sides of our anchorage, but just before breakfast they lifted enough to tempt us ashore.

The zodiac pushed its bow onto a jagged, rocky landing from where we walked across to the windward side of the island in search of the albatros. We passed some small colonies of Gentoo penguins and the occasional marauding karakara, but almost hidden behind huge tussock grass lay fields and fields of nesting black-browed albatros.

Soaring black-browed albatros

Albatros colony

We managed to get pretty close to the albatros without bothering them - most to continue sleeping, oblivious to our presence.

It was fantastic to watch the albatros soaring over head, lifting and diving effortlessly on the strong onshore winds. Although only a couple of metres from their nests, they were oblivious to our presence, uninterested and unafraid.

On the walk back I climbed the central spur and shot back across the isthmus and another peak on the southern arm of the island. A squall passed though, obscuring everything south, but thankfully missing me and my cameras.

Next: Stanley

 

 

Peter Eastway Uses

Peter Uses
AIPP

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