Island Rockhopping


Since arriving we’ve been hearing talk of ‘the Kidney Island trip’ and we were finally lucky enough to bag some space on a boat trip out. About 30 minutes from Stanley is the nature reserve Kidney Island. We were hoping to see some sea lions but the boat trip wasn’t necessary for that as before we could even get abpard a sea lion had fallen asleep on the public jetty in town just 6ft from the boat so that was that one ticked off already. We took some food and landed by small rib on a beach, making our way through 3m tall Tussock Grass to the Hut to leave some bags, before cutting across the Island to see our first Rockhopper penguin colony. The Rockhoppers were my favourite before we came down the Islands but upon turning up at Kidney they cemented their place! They are smaller than the other penguins here, with deep red eyes and an uncanny, almost unbelievable, ability to emerge from crashing water onto smooth rock faces and ascend with mixed levels of dignity (I think I see a lot of my own scrambling technique in them). As if the wildlife here hadn’t shocked us enough, the Rockhoppers were in no way bothered by our presence, allowing us to get as close as we wished (even being kind enough to look at the camera for Han’s Rockhopper selfie, you’ll need to ask her for that). We were fortunate that it was the nicest day we’ve had so far in the Falklands so the pictures gave a great clear blue background to them. They’ve currently got chicks so there were a lot of turkey vultures around, as well as seals playing in the turbulent waters below their colony. From there, we partook in one of Han’s favourite past-times; marching through the Tussock Grass across the Island (see post on Cape Dolphin and the forced sea lion encounters). True to form, many pants were threatened by the growling, stomping and occasional running of a disturbed sea lion unsure of what to make of us. From there, we found the occasional Gentoo and Magellanic penguin as well as sea lions watching us from the water as we made our way around the Island and back through to our starting point. Here we ate dinner and awaited the final spectacle that Kidney Island had to offer us; 200,000 sooty shearwater birds returning home at dusk and flying into the Tussock for the evening. This was everything it promised to be, as we sat in the Tussock hearing wings beat past our heads and ducking from swooping shearwaters flying ever-lower and eventually crashing into the Tussocks around us at full speed before crawling to their burrows. It was quite something and continued until it was dark enough to drive us back to the boat and back to the sea lion welcome at the public jetty. A long but unforgettable day and highly recommended to anyone who happens to be passing this way. Click the pictures  below for captions.

8 thoughts on “Island Rockhopping

  1. Merry Christmas Sir! This looks like a once in a lifetime opportunity, experiencing all the different types of wildlife.

    I wish I could go there to! 😦

    Hopefully you have the merriest little Christmas.

    -James

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    • Thanks Jimmy! It’s not an easy place to get to currently but you never know where your life will take you. We had a fab Christmas and went to the Boxing Day horse races today. We’re off to see some King Penguins tomorrow so expect some more pictures soon! We hope you had a great Xmas too!

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  2. Get me on a plane! Incredible. Just incredible.
    Merry Christmas to you both, hope the ginge isn’t too homesick and TELL me you made some local gin??

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  3. Fantastic photos Hannah and Bailey
    Love the Blog / Documentary of your adventures and experience of living The Falklands …
    Wet windy and really wild here Yeuch
    ☔️💨 🌫💦
    Love and Happy Christmas to you Both
    Love
    Rod & Puddy Xx

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  4. Happy Christmas Bailey and Hannah! We love your stories and photographs. We also hope to read your book when written .!!!! Keep well, stay safe, and all our love we send your way. Xx

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    • Thanks Avril and Stuart and Happy Christmas to you both! We’ll keep the blog going, perhaps we’ll print them off on our return but no publishing deal in the pipeline yet – we are, after all, just living life here so it’s no unique story to tell. We’ll see what a Falklands Christmas brings, so expect a few more updates soon.
      All the best to the whole family.

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