New Island Landing by Kate Waite

Kate Waite

05 Nov 2014

New island landing trip report

New Island, to the west of the Falkland Islands archipelago, is the most remote of all the inhabited islands and was our landing destination for Monday 3rd November. With a fairly strong wind we were anticipating a very wet landing and cameras were safely stowed in dry bags as the zodiacs safely cruised into the small bay at Coffin's Harbour, alongside an old ship wreck.

At the landing site was the Barnard Memorial Museum, situated in what was once the stone shelter of Captain Charles Barnard, a whaler who was marooned on this remote island in June 1813 for 19 months.

An easy 1km walk over a grassy plain brought us to the to the Settlement Rookery on the west of the island. The dramatic cliff-top home to Rockhopper penguins, black-browed albatross and king cormorants. The sea cliffs here are covered with birds and the waves crashing onto the rocks are set to a cacophony of bird calls as the thousands of residents soar around the cliffs or sit on the rocks engaging in their elaborate courtship rituals. 

Of the 61 bird species that are known to breed in the Falkland Islands, 41 of them can be found on New Island.

Since 1973 New Island has operated as a wildlife reserve and centre for research. Along with numerous other birdlife, the island is home to the largest known breeding colony of the thin-billed prion, a small burrowing petrel.

After a BBQ lunch back onboard the MV Ushuaia there was the opportunity to return to the Settlement Rookery for more photography or the option to head to a different landing point on the island where there is the site of a 1908 whaling station. New Island was the base for the Falklands only permanent whaling station. 

No buildings remain but foundations and machinery show the extent of the station and made for some interesting artistic photography.

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