Sunday, November 9, 2008

Puerto Williams gulls

Puerto Williams, Chile

Last night after leaving Isla Terhalten we headed back into the Beagle Channel. The plan was to get as far through the channel as possible in order to make our next destination, Isla Caroline, in the next few days. Isla Caroline is an open ocean-facing island near the southern most part of Tierra del Fuego. Historical records show that explorers working on Isla Ildefonso in 1910 took shelter from a storm at Caroline and reported seeing southern rockhopper penguins. Feather Link hopes to find and census these penguins. Unfortunately for us, a storm also forced us to take shelter and we anchored in Puerto Williams for the night. By this morning the high winds have not shown any signs of stopping so the harbor master closed the port. No boats are allowed to leave as the weather is too dangerous. Not content to sit at the dock, a few of us braved the winds and walked over to a gull colony located on a sandy spit of land alongside the channel. The winds were so strong that even the gulls had difficulty flying into them, and instead just hovered directly over the ground.

The colony was mostly nesting kelp gulls,

but there were a few pairs of dolphin gulls,

Magellanic oystercatchers,

and a pair of upland geese.

Let's hope the weather clears for tomorrow.


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