the afternoon of February 11, we shifted anchorage to North Harbour
and proceeded to land on a high beach under the escort of blackchin
(Peale's) dolphins. We had great fun watching them bow-riding the
zodiaks as we came to shore.
on shore we set off on a convoluted and meandering 4+ mile hike
to see the sights of the northern region of the island. The hike
took us through valleys, onto beaches, over rocky slopes, out onto
a peninsula, past mixed colonies of penguins, albatrosses and shags,
and to a windy overlook of a deep canyon.
was an extensive gentoo penguin colony located in a valley above
a beautiful Caribbean-like beach. The penguins were trying to enter
the water but a southern sea lion was patrolling offshore, hunting
them. Everytime they tried to run into the surf, they turned back
when they saw the sea lion poke up his head.
passed a flock of beautiful and rare dolphin gulls, resting on a
rocky ledge. Their bright red beaks and legs distinguished them
from other gulls. A Striated Caracara (aka Johnny Rook), swooped
walked over an unusual hill, devoid of all vegetation and covered
with small, smooth stones. We learned that these were used as ballast
by seals hundred's of years ago in order to be able to dive down
in the sea. They then pooped the stones out when they rested on
interesting spot was a pile of penguin bones. These were left by
sealers who killed the penguins, skinned them and extracted the
blubber for oil. Each penguin yielded about a pint of oil.
hiked over to a cliffside colony of black-browed albatrosses, shags
and rockhopper penguins. The adult albatrosses came flying in from
sea to feed their waiting furry chicks. We watched in amazement
as a line of rockhopper penguins came out of the water below, then
hopped their way up the rocky cliff to their nests.
The immense spring tidal fluctuation added another 1/4 mile to
our hike when we returned to the landing beach at extreme low tide
and found the pickup site had been adjusted.
was our last stop on the cruise and a great place to end it with
the huge variety of wildlife we found. We were rewarded with a beautiful
sunset as we prepared for a final day at sea before reaching Ushuaia,
Argentina where we had started 21 days ago.
more photos of North Harbour, go to North
Harbour Photo Gallery. To read about the next place we visited
go to Ushuaia, Argentina Newsletter.
Locations Visited Photos