Antarctica- Thursday, January 25, 2018...Our first penguin photos...The Falkland Islands...Aaaamazing!!!


A one or two-year-old Rock Hopper Penguin on New Island in the Falkland Islands yet to grow his full plumage.
As we expected, the Wi-Fi signal on the ship is touchy. On our first full day out to sea and we anticipate arriving at our first so-called “port of call” at the Falkland Islands, one day earlier than scheduled.  
Rock Hopper Penguins.  Pinch me...is this really happening?
Tuesday night, after an enjoyable dinner (fully accommodating my dietary restriction) in the main dining room with two fine Aussie couples we tried on the complimentary red parkas which we’ll take with us when the cruise ends.  
A colony of penguins.

A family gathering.Rock Hopper penguins with one of their offspring.
Most likely we’ll add them to the other winter clothing we’ll be shipping back to our mailing service in Nevada to store until another cold-weather adventure in years to come.
There are thousands of Rock Hopper and Imperial Shags penguins on New Island.
The crowd on this 200 passenger ship, Ponant Le Soleal, are mostly seniors like us although many, based on the outrageous fares we all paid, are much more “financially possessed” than our middle-income selves.  But, like most people we met, we all seem to blend well, particularly based on our mutual world travel experiences.  
 
Rock Hopper and Imperial Shags.
Of course, we never meet anyone that “does it” quite like us although we’ve found many of the passengers are traveling more than they’re staying “home.”
About half of the 200 passenger hail from France or other French-speaking countries.
A Zodiak boat bringing passengers back to the ship after their exploration of the island.
The remainder is from Australia, the US, the UK and various parts of Europe.  Many speak no English or very little.  Why should we expect them to speak English when we don't speak their language.  I'm having a hard time not saying "hola" when people walk past.  After all, we've spent the last six months in Spanish speaking countries.
A female Uplander Goose.

The staff is perfect at arranging like-language speaking seminars and dining tables allowing for free-flowing conversations.  I’m finding I’m understanding a great deal of the French language, more than I'd expected, from my four years of studying French 55 years ago in high school.  I always say our brains are like computers storing information that may be retrieved decades later if we try hard enough. 
A male Uplander Goose wandering about.
Jumping back for a moment:  Once we arrived in Ushuaia, our bags were whisked away to be placed in our cabins.  An English speaking 30-minute city tour ensued as we headed to an Accora Hotel located at about 2100 feet in the Andes Mountains which surround the historic and beautiful city for a fabulous buffet lunch.  
 
Another male Uplander Goose.
Having been in Ushuaia in mid-December on the South American cruise, we found ourselves reveling in the beauty of this remote location.  Details of this lunch and time in Ushuaia is described in more details in yesterday’s post.
Me in front of the museum on the Falklands Island of New Island.
By 4:15 we began the quickest boarding process of all of our past 21 cruises in the past five years.  Within minutes, we were escorted to our cabin by sophisticated English speaker porters who handled our carry on bags.  
 
Tom, in front of The museum on New Island in the Falkland Island
Once in our luxurious cabin which was only about 200 square feet, we were pleased with our fourth deck (out of six decks) choice.  With tons of closet and drawer space, by dinner time and after the mandatory muster drill, we were completely unpacked with our bags neatly tucked under the king-sized bed.

A shipwreck on the shore at New Island in the Falkland Islands.

The first night we sailed away by 6:00 pm, arriving the next morning at New Island of the Falkland Island which are the photos we're sharing today.  To say the least, we are both wildly in awe of being in this part of the world never taking a single moment for granted.
An old stone stove in the museum.
This is one of those times, we keep pinching ourselves, asking "How did we get so lucky to be here?  How did we ever manage to save enough to pay this outrageous cruise fare?  I guess we can say, we bit the bullet and sacrificed many amenities and extras we may have included in our lives in the past.
This bird, a female Kelp Goose, found a bit of kelp to nibble on.
Soon, when we arrive in Africa, again we'll tighten our budgets to be able to afford the many tours on which we're hoping to embark while on the continent.
For now, we're reveling in this experience, wrapped up in every luxurious moment, every bit of wildlife and scenery we're gifted with the opportunity to behold.
Our first trip on a Zodiac boat.  A maximum of 10 passengers is allowed on the Zodiac boats.  The boat ride is bouncy, windy and wet but our waterproof clothing protected us from the elements.
Above all, we're especially grateful to be sharing this with each other and then, of course, with all of you, our dear readers/friends.  As mentioned earlier, if you don't see a new post, keep an eye out.  We're making every effort to stay in close touch with new photos each day. We can't wait to share more penguin photos!!!

We'll be back soon!   Stay warm!
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Photo from one year ago today, January 25, 2017:
This Tasmania Devil posed for our photo while at Wild Wings Wildlife Farm in Gunns Plains, Tasmania, the first we'd seen.  For more photos, please click here.

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