Robin's Adventures

Antarctic Expedition
A Party with Penguins

Small Wonders

Darwin's fungus, also known as Indian Bread, is a round orange colored fungus that has small dimple like indentations that resemble the surface of a golf ball.

The fungus attaches to Southern Beech trees and sends out a chemical that makes the tree produce a gnarled gall. Large colonies of the fungus attach themselves to the gall and the tree looks as though it is bearing fruit.

On Board Le Lyrial

Le Lyrial is a small cruise ship with an ice-strengthened hull designed to stand up to the challenges of getting to the remote ports of the Southern Ocean.

We had been on her sister ship, Le Boreal, when we visited the Arctic so we felt right at home on Le Lyrial. We settled in and were looking forward to the adventure that was about to unfold.

Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

After spending a day at sea, we arrived at Port Stanley, the capital city of the Falkland Islands. About 75% of the population of the Falkland Islands lives in Port Stanley and when two or more cruise ships visit at the same time, the tourists outnumber the residents.

While coming into port, we noticed a pair of black and white Commerson's Dolphins, a species that is only found in this area. This active dolphin often swims upside down when hunting in order to better see its prey.

Seen about Town

Port Stanley is the main shopping and social center for the Falklands and the town is very efficient in their administrative setup. The Town Hall, for example, is a post office, philatelic bureau, court of law, and a dance hall. The police station is also the only prison and it has 13 cells.

Christ Church Cathedral, which is the southernmost cathedral in the world, has a beautiful arch in front made of blue whale jawbones. Sheep and cattle farms are also abundant on the island.

Historic Dockyard Museum

One interesting stop was at the Historic Dockyard Museum, which had exhibits not only about Antarctic exploration, but also about pioneer days on the island, maritime life, flora and fauna of the Falklands, and the 1982 war with Argentina.

Rolling to the Rockhoppers

We visited a Rockhopper penguin colony located at Kidney Cove. The best way to access the colony by land is by hopping into a four-wheel drive vehicle driven by one of the locals. The drive was about 45 minutes long and took us across a peat moor that is part of the 10,000 acre Murrell Farm.

The colorful stories told by the local drivers were almost as interesting as the penguins and certainly made the rough bumpy ride more interesting.

Rockhopper Penguins

The most distinctive feature of the Rockhoppers is the beautiful yellow and black spiky crest of feathers on each side of their head. They also have bright red eyes and an orange beak. At only about 20 inches tall, these little fellows are one of the world's smallest penguins.

True to their name, these penguins moved about by a series of short hops. They were surprisingly fast when they wanted to get somewhere in a hurry.

Young Rockhoppers

Rockhoppers live in colonies during the breeding season and they are at sea the rest of the year. It is interesting to note that they return to the same colony year after year and seek out not only the same mate, but also the same nest. Both parents take turns incubating the egg and feeding and caring for the young.

Video Adventures with the Rockhoppers

Rough Waters in the Scotia Sea

You know the seas are going to be rough when barf bags are conveniently placed throughout the ship. We spent two days traveling through the Scotia Seas and on the first night there were 28-foot swells, which knocked things off of shelves in staterooms and caused some dishes to go flying in the dining room.

On the second day, we passed Shag Rocks, a famous landmark, which is made up of six rock outcroppings from the Scotia Ridge. These rocks, which are just less than 250 feet tall, provide a habitat for sea birds, most notably Blue Eyed Shags.