I think this has to be the part of the last 6 months that I'm most excited to share! Seeing animals in their natural habit is something I find wonderful, and as those who came on tour with me know, I can watch them for hours!
Let's begin with penguins.
Our ship stopped at the Falkland Islands and the main thing you can do here (apart from stock up on English chocolate) is see penguins.
Did you know? There are 17 different types of penguin and they all only live in the Southern Hemisphere (so extra special for those of us from the Northern Hemisphere!) and you can see 5 of those different types of penguin in the Falklands.
The most accessible are the gentoo penguins:
These are the first wild penguins I ever met, we stopped to see them on the beach.
Before heading over to the nearby grassy areas they make home and have their babies!
We were able to go very close.
In this area full of gentoo penguins I also met a pair of kings
The next trip I took I wanted to see more beautiful king penguins
More baby penguins!
Throughout this posting I have videos to share as they can reveal much more about the animals. Here's the kings with their babies, plus the gentoo penguins were here too and you'll see they want a piece of the limelight!
Next up rockhopper penguins.
To get to these beautiful animals we had to go off road in jeeps for around and hour and half. The ground is soft peat so they are unable to build roads. Along this cliff edge area there are hundreds of rockhopper penguins plus a macaroni penguin, slightly larger but similar it's in there somewhere! The penguins are here shredding their feathers which makes them lethargic.
But there were some who's feathers were complete and had more energy. Meet Brian:
He's showing you why they are called rockhoppers!
That's 4 types of penguin and 5th in Falklands I actually met in a place called Peninsula Valdes, a UNESCO protected animal reserve in Patagonia on the coast of Argentina. These are magallanic penguins.
Hmm the iPhone panorama gave a crooked skyline however you get the point of how few of these guys were here compared to the rockhoppers.
But Peninsula Valdes is a reserve, here's what else you can see...
Mara (Patagonian hare):
Dwarf Armadillo (video):
Here's a video of a family of sea lions:
And this amazing video of an area they call the sea lion nursery:
You can see why people travel from all over the world to visit Patagonia.
In the northern parts of South America the alpaca is very popular, providing wool for natives and tourists:
Then in Costa Rica we had an amazing day of letting monkeys climb all over us and then holding 10 day old crocodiles!
And now, Alaska! Famous for it's wildlife I saw as much as I could. And what brings the wildlife to Alaska? The salmon.
They come into the streams in their millions and turn red when they're ready to spawn. It's an incredible site! There are 5 different types of salmon and the bright red one below is a sockeye.
Who eats salmon? Huge bald eagles.
Coastal brown bears, in this video you see momma call over the cubs.
And here's a black bear video, no zoom, when the salmon is in they don't care how close we are.
We found this bear later, hidden but eating the salmon it had caught.
In the areas of the bears we also found deer:
And mountain goats:
And finally the animals of the water! Sea otter:
Sea lions floating on buoys with spectacular views or lying on rocks!
We saw orcas from the ship so this photo is from very far away but still...!
But last and not least the majestic humpback whale:
We were fortunate enough to see bubble feeding, this video is a photo burst stitched together:
We also saw this kayaker nearly get knocked over by these creatures the size of a bus!
To fly home from Alaska I had to travel to Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska and home to 1400 moose. I was fortunate enough to get this video before coming home:
When I get chance my next post will be all about Glaciers!