[Another occasional instalment of our life in the South Atlantic, on the Falkland Islands. Last week, we were hosting my brother and sister-in-law (J&M for short). (My multi-talented wife took some of the photos below).]
We tried to show our guests some of the wildlife the Falklands has to offer. With the excellent service from the government-run air service, FIGAS, we hopped between a few islands and Stanley, and enjoyed the tremendous hospitality of local lodge owners and managers, and the expert advice of the local guides. Most of the pics were taken on Sea Lion Island, where walking is superb due to its compact size.
On Pebble Island, Josh, our expert guide, took us off-road. All the better to see the black-necked swans... in the distance....
|Gentoo penguins coming over the hill on Pebble Island|
|Bull and female sealions, Pebble I.|
|"You can see the albatross from up here, but it is windy!"|
|Nordic Walkers on the 4-mile beach on Pebble Island.|
|Sea Lion Lodge is now under new management|
|There were giants on the beach - 3000 kgs of elephant seal. Lodge in the distance.|
|About 700 pups have been born this year, and there were only 2 still suckling, before Mum disappears into the ocean...|
|A Kelp goose (female - the males are all white), protecting her gosling|
|A film crew struggling to film in the wild weather|
|"Look into my eyes!"|
|The Snipe are sheltering behind the light grey bush...Does this make me a sniper?|
|Striated caracara (Johnny Rook) at the HMS Sheffield memorial|
|Memorial to men killed on HMS Sheffield, sunk off Sea Lion Island during the 1982 Falklands War by an Exocet missile.|
|J pointing out where the Rockhoppers climb up the cliff.|
|Cliff top colonies protect the penguins, but we could feel the spray from the waves even up here. A few years ago, a storm decimated the penguins.|
|This was a calm day, but the gale from the day before left the sea boiling|
|I can't work out how they climb 40 metres of sheer,wet cliff...|
As if the weather wasn't bad enough, predators are always around. The Striated Caracara is fearless and intelligent. This one stole the egg from a pair of shags, one sitting on the egg!
|Now, how to open this meal? Velociraptor, anyone?|
|Reminds me of Jurassic Park.....|
|Ever alert for a snack, as is the Striated Caracara!|
|Astro, front, is 20 times heavier than J&M, rear.|
|End of breeding season blues. Better luck next year!|
|A snug corner is much sought after.|
|Dad, Mum and pup. 3000, 800 and 200 kgs, respectively.|
|Day trips are possible. The airstrip is next to the lodge on Sea Lion island....|
|Balancing lessons on the beach|
|Just checking the paparazzi aren't waiting on the beach|
|Head-high tussac grass can conceal some large residents|
|3 amigos, about 6 weeks old, 200 kgs|
|Beachcombers looking for a vacant deckchair... :-)|
|No trees on Sea Lion, so grass has to provide shelter in a gale.|
|A plane spotter's paradise...100 metres from the Lodge.|
|Despite the wind, J tried his luck at golf. Probably the most southerly golf course in the world! The trick is to keep the ball low into the wind.....!|
|M meets Milo, our guest lawn mower.|
Finally, after a week of travelling, I saw a sunrise at Darwin at 5am, so captured it for my guests, who unfortunately didn't see a sunrise or sunset during their visit.....
However, they did see lots of things to provide memories for years to come!