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AryMay

Penguins at Volunteer Point, Falkland Islands

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Posted (edited)

After our wonderful day at Volunteer Point in the Falkland Islands in February, I couldn't resist doing a penguin video...with music of course!

 

The stars of the show? A small group of stately king penguins going for their daily swim and a mischievous, cartoon-like gentoo penguin who keeps photo-bombing their scenes. 😉

 

After watching these beautiful (and sometimes comical) creatures don't be surprised if it causes you to book a cruise to South America! Here is the link. One click and you can have a 10 minute trip to the Falkland Islands!  Penguins at Volunteer Point

 

 

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Edited by AryMay

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41 minutes ago, AryMay said:

After our wonderful day at Volunteer Point in the Falkland Islands in February, I couldn't resist doing a penguin video...with music of course!

 

The stars of the show? A small group of stately king penguins going for their daily swim and a mischievous, cartoon-like gentoo penguin who keeps photo-bombing their scenes. 😉

 

After watching these beautiful (and sometimes comical) creatures don't be surprised if it causes you to book a cruise to South America! Here is the link. One click and you can have a 10 minute trip to the Falkland Islands!  Penguins at Volunteer Point

 

 

YouTube Thumbnail.JPG

How wonderful, thank you so much....oh I hope we get in 🤞.  Any tips on footwear or outerwear, know it’s a rough drive.   No back problems now so I hope we will be OK, have to chance it.   Thanks again

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Thank you! What a great video! You had a beautiful day at Volunteer Point. I was there in March 2018 and followed a group of King penguins to the beach but when the water touched their feet they turned around and walked back up the beach. Too funny! The best shore excursion I have ever done. You have shown Volunteer Point wonderfully. 

 

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42 minutes ago, Lanz said:

How wonderful, thank you so much....oh I hope we get in 🤞.  Any tips on footwear or outerwear, know it’s a rough drive.   No back problems now so I hope we will be OK, have to chance it.   Thanks again

 

We had a beautiful sunny day with temps in the upper 50's but it was very windy. I wore a fleece top with a windbreaker over it and a ball cap to keep my hair from blowing.  My husband had a lightweight down jacket with a hooded thin windbreaker on top (he is always cold!).  For footwear we just wore sneakers. 

 

 

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AryMay,

Thank  you for posting such a great video! We’ll be there in Dec and I am working on plans now. What company did you tour with and would you recommend them? 

 

Thank you!

Tammy

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Hi Tammy. Our tour was booked with Patrick Watts and I would definitely recommend him. He seems very organized and was great about answering any questions I had via email. I also liked that he accepted US dollars for payment (but note that he wants larger bills in very good condition.)

 

Patrick's tours fill up early, so don't wait to book. 🙂 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Good to know. I contacted Patrick about a month ago via a link on the Falkland Islands tourist board website and haven’t yet received a reply. Do you have an email for him to be contacted directly?

Thanks!

 

Edited by scottam

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AryMay,

Nevemind, I found it and have contacted him directly. 

 

Thanks again for the video and the info!

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42 minutes ago, scottam said:

AryMay,

Nevemind, I found it and have contacted him directly. 

 

Thanks again for the video and the info!

 

Hopefully you will hear back soon. Here is the email for anyone else who might be interested in the Volunteer Point tour with Patrick Watts:  pwatts@horizon.co.fk

 

 

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On 4/24/2019 at 4:59 PM, AryMay said:

After our wonderful day at Volunteer Point in the Falkland Islands in February, I couldn't resist doing a penguin video...with music of course!

 

The stars of the show? A small group of stately king penguins going for their daily swim and a mischievous, cartoon-like gentoo penguin who keeps photo-bombing their scenes. 😉

 

After watching these beautiful (and sometimes comical) creatures don't be surprised if it causes you to book a cruise to South America! Here is the link. One click and you can have a 10 minute trip to the Falkland Islands!  Penguins at Volunteer Point

 

 

YouTube Thumbnail.JPG

 

 

AryMay,

 

After watching the 4WD trip out to Volunteer point, I question whether this is advisable for someone who has chronic back problems.  I fear that the bobbing up and down over those ruts would put DH in back in excruciating pain .  What is your feeling on this?  I so want to see the King penguins, but I am also reluctant to chance the result. 

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I would avoid this tour if you have back problems as the ride is very rough. Unfortunately there is no alternate route to get to Volunteer Point. I know there were other tours that included king penguins that were closer but the colony was much smaller.

 

The health app on my iPhone registered that I had climbed 92 flights of stairs just from the bouncing up and down in the Land Rover. 

 

 

IMG_6803.PNG

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19 minutes ago, AryMay said:

I would avoid this tour if you have back problems as the ride is very rough. Unfortunately there is no alternate route to get to Volunteer Point. I know there were other tours that included king penguins that were closer but the colony was much smaller.

 

The health app on my iPhone registered that I had climbed 92 flights of stairs just from the bouncing up and down in the Land Rover. 

 

 

IMG_6803.PNG

Thanks, AryMay.  I was afraid that is what you  would say.  Where are the other site on the Faulklands where one might see King penguins?

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Posted (edited)

Here is a tour that others on our cruise took with Patrick Watts. Other than this description, I have no idea what the tour was like or what they saw. I do know that all of the penguin tours offered by the ship sold out before we got to the Falklands so if seeing penguins are a priority, I would find a tour to book in advance. 

 

The 4-5 hours tour to Bertha's Beach and Gypsy Cove requires just a minimal amount of driving over smooth grass/sand track terrain and is ideal for someone who suffers back problems. You can walk around at Bertha's Beach and get close to the penguins and also go to beach itself and watch the penguins diving away into the Atlantic Ocean. Here are the full details of the tour:

 

BERTHA’S BEACH/GYPSY COVE: This tour is a combination of penguins and general interest and runs for 4-5 hours in total. Bertha’s Beach lies on the southern coast of East Falklands and is about a one hour’s drive from Stanley. The initial section of the route is over a tarmac/gravel road which passes close to the International Airport and Military Base, before turning off and picking up a short and interesting off-road route for a 5 minutes drive across smooth and even sand/grass track terrain. Bertha’s Beach is named after the Norwegian iron barque ‘Bertha’ which was wrecked there in 1892. Some of the wreckage is still visible today. It is the home of a large colony of Gentoo penguins, all in their natural and undisturbed habitat and who have the freedom of a beautiful long white sand beach. With no restrictions it means that you can virtually get to within touching distance of the penguins and such is the isolation of this extraordinary location, that it is possible to follow the penguins from their colonies as they head into the ocean and then photograph them as they return. The photographic opportunities are immense. The odd King penguin is known to visit as well, but this is not guaranteed. Complimentary tea/coffee/biscuits are provided during the stopover which will be about one and half hours.

 

We then drive back towards Stanley, stopping to view the unique ‘rivers of stone’ (large boulder formations) before heading 4 miles east of the town to see the Magellanic penguins at Gypsy Cove. This species burrow deeply into the turf to make their nests and can often be seen sitting outside of their nests on sunny days. A pathway provides an easy walking route around the Cove. A World War 2 gun remains intact and sits just above the Cove. Following an ample stopover we then drive around the end of the harbor viewing several old shipwrecks dating back to the last century. The ‘Lady Elizabeth’ (built in Sunderland in the north of England in 1879) sits on a sand bank close the shore and is easily photographed. We pass Stanley Airport where the Argentines landed 12,000 troops during the 1982 Falklands War and then head into town, passing ‘new’ Stanley on the way. There is also an opportunity to see the 2 Battle Memorials (1914 + 1982), Government House, the amazing Whalebone Archway (4 jawbones of the blue whale) and much more.

 

Passengers are dropped off either back at the pier or in the center of town, where the main shops are situated and which is just a few minutes walk from the pier.

 

We booked penguin tours in three ports just to make sure we saw them somewhere. In my opinion, here is my ranking of how we liked the tours. (I have posts on my blog from each port with more details and lots of photos. Link is in my signature.)

 

  1. Falkland Islands. Volunteer Point with Patrick Watts - most expensive and most difficult travel, but the best experience. Three different breeds of penguins all in one place!
  2. Puerto Madryn. El Pedral tour to Punta Ninfas. Although still a rough drive, it was shorter and we saw thousands of magellanic penguins plus guanacoes and rheas. Only 8 people were on this tour so it was much more personalized and we got a delicious lunch of roast lamb.
  3. Punta Arenas. Speedboat tour to Magdalena Island with Solo Expediciones. The boat ride was extremely rough and overcrowded. The staff working with the tour were not very friendly (to the point of being rude) and we waited for about an hour for the boat to arrive at the dock. Seeing the whole island filled with magellanic penguins was pretty awesome however.
Edited by AryMay

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Just booked this cruise and have booked a tour with Patrick .  Loved your video.

Thanks

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Hi, I just booked a trip to Antarctica in Jan. 2020 and we stop in the Falkland Islands and I would really like to do the Patrick Watts tour. My question is, I have some back problems but I can tolerate bumpy drives much better than extended walking.  How much walking is involved, do you have to hike a mile to see the penguins? The walking is my problem, any advice you can give me is greatly appreciated!!

 

Thanks so much,

Sue 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, bjbear said:

Hi, I just booked a trip to Antarctica in Jan. 2020 and we stop in the Falkland Islands and I would really like to do the Patrick Watts tour. My question is, I have some back problems but I can tolerate bumpy drives much better than extended walking.  How much walking is involved, do you have to hike a mile to see the penguins? The walking is my problem, any advice you can give me is greatly appreciated!!

 

Thanks so much,

Sue 

 

Hi Sue!

 

When we got to Volunteer Point, all of the Land Rovers parked together and the distance from where we parked to the main colony of king penguins was maybe 100 yards. Hopefully you wouldn't have much trouble walking that distance.

 

The first photo is where we parked.

IMG_3243.JPG

 

The next photo is looking the other direction towards the penguin colony.

IMG_3092.JPG

 

The walk to get down to the beach was further...but you wouldn't have to go down there if you didn't want. There weren't a lot of penguins at the beach, but it was fun to watch the ones who were there. The water and waves were beautiful as well!

P1010887.JPG

 

Looking back from the beach towards the penguin colony...

P1130734.JPG

 

 

And although the  majority of the penguins stayed huddled together in the large group, there were penguins wandering all over. How often do you see cows & penguins in the same photo!! 

P1130749.JPG

 

If you are interested in this tour for 2020, you should be checking into booking ASAP since they fill up far in advance. We booked about a year and a half prior to our cruise. The ship tours to Volunteer Point would also go to the same place, but cost more than double what we paid to Patrick Watts. Even so, those were all sold out before the ship reached the Falklands so don't wait too long.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by AryMay

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On 4/24/2019 at 5:43 PM, Lanz said:

How wonderful, thank you so much....oh I hope we get in 🤞.  Any tips on footwear or outerwear, know it’s a rough drive.   No back problems now so I hope we will be OK, have to chance it.   Thanks again

 

I'll chime in about what to wear also.  The day we went, it was sunny, drizzly, sleeting and VERY windy.  The drizzle and sleet really stung!  This weather was all at the penguin location.  I had a heavy coat on, ears covered and hiking boots.  While the hiking boots were not really necessary, I highly recommend taking layers with the outermost one being waterproof.  Don't wear all this in the 4x4's though or you'll roast.  Even with the crazy weather, this was a fabulous tour!  Don't miss it, even if you have to cough up the $$ and take the ship tour.

 

Linda R.

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Love the video.   We had a beautiful day seeing the penguins at Volunteer point and loved it!

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On 6/8/2019 at 9:03 PM, bjbear said:

Hi, I just booked a trip to Antarctica in Jan. 2020 and we stop in the Falkland Islands and I would really like to do the Patrick Watts tour. My question is, I have some back problems but I can tolerate bumpy drives much better than extended walking.  How much walking is involved, do you have to hike a mile to see the penguins? The walking is my problem, any advice you can give me is greatly appreciated!!

 

Thanks so much,

Sue 

Hi Sue, I just booked a trip to Volunteer Point in 2021 with a helicopter company that does tours.  I loved the place 2 years ago when I was there but didn’t want to do the drive again.

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On 6/8/2019 at 8:03 PM, bjbear said:

Hi, I just booked a trip to Antarctica in Jan. 2020 and we stop in the Falkland Islands and I would really like to do the Patrick Watts tour. My question is, I have some back problems but I can tolerate bumpy drives much better than extended walking.  How much walking is involved, do you have to hike a mile to see the penguins? The walking is my problem, any advice you can give me is greatly appreciated!!

 

Thanks so much,

Sue 

 

I did this tour with Patrick Watts in Feb. 2019.  1& 1/2 hours of the ride each way is rough---think riding a bucking bronco. There was a driver and 1 passenger in the front of a 4x4 and 3 adults in the back seat. We took our coats off to have a bit more room back there. Be prepared to bounce around-side to side, up and down and forward. There are seatbelts for all. The vehicle was covered in mud by the time we returned---from off road mud and light rain.  Walking distance is not really a problem, it is uneven, a bit hilly to get around the areas where most of the penguins were.

We booked over a year prior to our cruise.

Other companies did exactly the same excursion as we did. Same as Princess did.

I would not have missed it, but the ride is rough and there are other places to see penguins which are easy to get to.

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What type of foot ware did you have on and after were your shoes covered in mud?

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27 minutes ago, Trend said:

What type of foot ware did you have on and after were your shoes covered in mud?

An excellent question!   We also booked with Patrick Watts and will be going Dec 31st to Volunteer Park.

 

Another question - did you bring water along?   were there stops going or coming back to stretch?

Did any of the vehicles break down?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, CCWineLover said:

An excellent question!   We also booked with Patrick Watts and will be going Dec 31st to Volunteer Park.

 

Another question - did you bring water along?   were there stops going or coming back to stretch?

Did any of the vehicles break down?

No mud when we were at Volunteer Point in Feb. 2019...we just wore sneakers and were fine. Conditions may be totally different when you are there however. 

 

For Patrick Watts tours, we made a stop at Johnson Harbour at the end of the gravel road and the beginning of the off road travel (about an hour from there to Volunteer Point.) There were rest rooms available and also a "food safe" where baked goods were available to purchase on the honor system. 

IMG_5675.JPG

 

On the way back (after leaving Volunteer Point) we were each given sack lunches with sandwiches, chips, a candy bar, a bottle of water and a special touch...a USB memory stick in the shape of a penguin that contained lots of photos from Volunteer Point. 

 

IMG_6804.JPG

 

Our driver gave us the option to make the restroom stop on the way back, but we declined. Before dropping us off across the street from the church with the whale bone arches, he gave us a quick tour of the town.

 

Here is a link to my blog post from our day in the Falkland Islands that has more photos and details from our tour:  Falkland Islands Volunteer Point Tour

 

 

Edited by AryMay

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5 hours ago, Trend said:

What type of foot ware did you have on and after were your shoes covered in mud?

Regular shoes, most areas where penguins are is grass. The mud was on the vehicle on the way back only due to the light rain and off road portion. On the way there it was dry. We did not walk in mud, but there is penguin poop everywhere.

 

Brought snack & water, but Patrick' group were given the lunch bag, etc. after we got to VP.

A wonderful day!

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