Ruggedly beautiful and remote, New Island is located at the extreme west of the Falklands’ archipelago. Dramatic cliffs contrast with sheltered sandy bays and natural harbours. New Island has a large concentration and great diversity of wildlife. It is also one of the driest places with an annual rainfall of less than 40cms (16”).
The pretty settlement overlooks Coffin’s Harbour, possibly named after a whaling captain. One of the earliest residents of the island was Captain Charles H Barnard of the whaler “Nanina”. He was stranded here with four crew members for around eighteen months in 1813/14. The remnants of their rough stone shelter can still be seen.
The remains of the first and only land-based whaling station in the Falklands are in South Harbour. The station closed in 1916 as operations were relocated to South Georgia where whale catches were larger. Look out for old penguin boiling pots. Of course, no sealing or whaling activities are practised in the Islands today.
Some of the best wildlife experiences are just a short distance from the settlement. At Settlement Rookery, formidable sea cliffs are home to black-browed albatross, king cormorants and rockhopper penguins creating an amazing cacophony of sounds. Great views are easy to find and time drifts away effortlessly whilst watching the rockhoppers landing in the surf and scaling the rocky heights before them and the albatross soar along the coastline.
Over forty species of birds breed on New Island including four species of penguin. Thin-billed prions are a highlight along with skuas, striated caracara and peregrine falcons.
Marine mammals are also plentiful. Peale’s dolphins breed in inshore waters, sea lions are often observed and fur seal colonies are found around the island.
Some cruise itineraries include New Island. Visitors are assured of a warm welcome from the Island’s two human residents and a great wildlife watching experience.