Most places that we’ve lived, we’ve always tried to keep a ‘to-do’ list of things we would like to do before we leave there. It’s not that we’ve led an overly transitory lifestyle, but it’s always been helpful to have a written list somewhere for a rainy day. We also update this list as we find things that we’re able to do that we didn’t know about before. If you don’t have one for where you live, it’s a good idea! Anyway, I digress. One thing we definitely added to our list was the opportunity to go camping at the well-known Volunteer Point. Although it’s quite an adventure to get there (thanks, in part, to the featureless landscape and numerous off-road tracks heading out), it’s a common stop-off for tourists here as it’s home to the largest King Penguin colony in the Falklands. It also happens to be a stunning coastline, tailor-made for photos. As you’ll know if you’ve been reading regularly, we’ve both been to Volunteers several times, but we usually have to leave with plenty of time to get back. The opportunity to camp out at Volunteers meant we’d be able to see the sunsets and sunrises with the colony without having to worry about finding our way across this lot at night:
With plans made and a kind guide arranged (while we’d probably find our way there eventually, it’s hard to describe the route), we packed up the car and headed out to Johnsons Harbour settlement before switching to the low-range gearbox and venturing onto the, thankfully dry, track out. It takes about an hour and a half to get there, travelling across a peaty landscape, before you arrive at the farmhouse and the main colony just further along the coast. There’s a large gentoo colony and the Kings just near them. They have an 18-month breeding cycle, rather than the annual one that the Rockhoppers, Gentoos and Magellanics have so there’s usually chicks around. I guess it’s only to be expected that this trip has a heavy photo content:
The benefits of sunrise and sunset at Volunteers weren’t lost on us:
The beauty of Volunteers is that the beach there lends itself to stunning panoramas:
Volunteers is a place that gives great memories to most of the visitors that make the effort to go and everyone takes something away from the place:
This trip, the King penguin colony had moved slightly since our last trip. We did notice that the appearance of sealions in the waves at the beach meant that the water swiftly emptied of penguins, so we suspect that the penguins have figured out that the sealions are less likely to enter the area via the lagoon that you can see on the map at the top. On a recommendation, we walked down to the lagoon to find the kings and gentoos oddly playful in the water. It was a truly special experience to spend time watching the penguins through the clear water swimming past at great speed. I often wonder what experiences like this would cost if you had to pay for them in other countries. As it is, there’s a £15 fee to access the farm and £10 per tent to camp, so it was worth every penny:
It’s also yet another example of why outdoor technical clothing should always be the outfit of choice: zip-off trousers for the win!