A LOT of what goes on here is word of mouth – where to get this, who to talk to about that, how to get there etc. There is a sort-of Falklands “it is known” mentality; people just ‘know’. We’ve been starting to tap into this but have barely scratched the surface. We’d heard that Cape Dolphin was well worth a visit and a quick consultation of my highly out-of-date but only option maps told us it was about 2 hours’ drive on ‘the North camp road’ so we headed out there, passing by the quaint settlement of Teal Inlet where the British forces stopped off on their famous Yomp. True to form of the Falklands being behind the UK by several decades, there is no right to roam here so we paid the land access fee of £15 each (bit steep but unavoidable). This gave us directions down an 8-mile off-road track to the most Northerly point on East Falkland. This was a taxing drive for the novice off-roader (those of you on WhatsApp can ask Han for a few seconds of Dashcam footage) but did confirm that we made the correct choice in car with the Hilux Surf! The beast proved its worth today! At the end of the track, the peninsular opens out to a large area of Tussac grass, common in the Falklands and growing up to 2m tall in places.
This is crucial, as will become clear. We made our way down to the coast, surrounded by turkey vultures flying above, and observed a colony of sea lions on the rocks below. We wanted to see if we could climb down to get a little closer so we made our way into the Tussac grass. This was where the problems began. No sooner had Han asked ‘what makes these little paths through the grass?’ and I had stumbled upon a pup, promptly causing it to cross Han’s path running away from me. Pretty quickly we realised several things:
- Tussac is tall, hard to see through and parts of it are the exact colour of very large, very close sea lions
- Sea lions are BIG when close up
- Gingers attempting to escape sea lions by climbing on top of other sections of Tussac may find themselves virtually on top of more sea lions
- Jurassic Park is always right: don’t go into the long grass!
- The minefields left by the Argentines are far less intimidating than the minefield-like combination of grass and sea lion.
- Han may have worked with dangerous dogs before, but she is NOT OK with wild sea lions.
We did eventually, after a very slow and very tentative walk, reach a rock shelf where we were able to observe them from a safe-ish distance and another unforgettable day in the Falklands cemented itself into our memories.
Sea lions aside, the Cape will be well worth another visit for the stunning scenery, the white beaches, the dolphins off the coast and a whole host of other wildlife there to be seen: