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.