This was one of the ports we were most excited about. The King Penguins live here!!!
We were so very lucky because often times the cruise ships can’t make this port due to high winds and not being able to operate the tenders. We had very nice weather with next to no wind which apparently is not very common here.
Our whole day was all about the Penguins. To reach Volunteer Point we took a 4×4 tour across the island and had to travel on a really bad road that consisted mainly of peat, it was tricky driving. The scenery along the way was really interesting and made for quite a nice drive.
This is the most northern point to see the King Penguins so we were very happy to have this opportunity to be so close to them! The Volunteer Point colony is the largest breeding group of King Penguins on the Falklands. Around 1870 the King Penguins were almost extinct because they were killed for their oil and beautiful feathers. Today there are more than 1,000 breeding adults and 400-500 chicks are raised each year.
We couldn’t believe how big the baby King Penguins were, they were bigger than the parents! The breeding cycle takes more than one year so a breeding pair can only rear two chicks in three years. The chicks are so big because in winter they stay on land while the adults go on long foraging trips as far south as Antarctica. The chick has to fast during this period and will lose half of its body weight, relying on its fat reserves that it gained during the summer. It’s important to be careful not to disturb them while they are incubating eggs (Nov-Jan) because if the egg rolls off their feet then it will be lost.
This is a juvenile moulting and beginning to get its adult feathers….they looked like they were having a really bad hair day at this stage.
Not only did we see King Penguins here but we also saw Gentoo and Magellanic Penguins. There are over 1,000 breeding pairs of Gentoo Penguins at Volunteer Point and the Falklands are one of the most important sites in the world for this species.
The Magellanic Penguins were funny to watch and also curious in nature. They nest in deep burrows up to 2 meters deep. When we saw one in its burrow, it just cocked its head and checked us over, it wasn’t afraid at all – it was so cute.
After hanging out with hundreds upon hundreds of penguins, we actually had a tiny bit of time to see Stanley.
It’s a cute little place with a lot of history and war. Argentina still claims the Falklands as theirs so it depends on who you speak with as to whether the Falklands are a UK territory or part of Argentina. We saw a few signs here and there…
It goes without saying that we had the most fantastic day with the penguins 😊
Back on the ship we prepared to unwind for another sea day cruising through the Strait of Magellan on our way to Punta Arenas, Chile.
Where we stayed: Holland America Zandaam Mid-Ship Lower Promenade Deck 👍