Departing from the tourist dock in Ushuaia, we drive in our modern minibuses towards northeast along Nationals route 3 & J, the legendary road to Estancia Harberton (the first farm on the island, founded in 1886 by the Anglican missionary Thomas Bridges, located 90 Km from Ushuaia, on the Beagle Channel).
We sail from Harberton harbor to Martillo Island, a 15 minute ride on a semi-rigid boat (vessel capable of navigation in the area).
On the island, we will walk for 1 hour along Gentoo and Magellanics penguins, always with a guide, experiencing a unique adventure only with us! During summertime, penguins establish on the island. They share the habitat with other birds, such as skÃºas (their main predator), petrels, cormorants, vultures and South American terns.
Martillo Island, on the Beagle Channel, is part of the Estancia Harberton, and home to Magellanic penguins between September and April. The rookery hosts around 1000 nests, and is one of the three Magellanic penguin rookeries in Tierra del Fuego. There is also a small colony of 9 breeding couples of gentoo penguins (Pygocelis Papua), the only one in South America. A limited area of the nesting area can be visited nowadays with a tour guide.
The first chicks are born in mid-November and first weeks of December, and stay in their nests for around a month. They can't walk nor stand up on their own, and their parents will have to nourish them for some time. Once the chicks are two months old, they're big and strong enough to walk on their own and start to come out of their nests, but if they sense danger they quickly go back in to get protection.
During the last days of January, the chick will have reached around sixty/seventy days of age, weighing nearly as much as an adult penguin. They then start molting their baby feathers and get the juvenile plumage, and will soon leave the rookery. These juveniles may stay at sea for many years until they come back to the island; others may come back every year until they reach adulthood.
We recommend to wear a cap or hat, buff, waterproof jacket, trekking shoes, gloves and sunglasses.
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