Falkland Islands Trip Report
Falkland Islands Trip Report – January 2018
A trip to the Falkland Islands is like stepping back in time. Stanley is a quaint and mostly quiet town except for the days that a cruise ship is in the harbor and dozens or even hundreds of people come ashore to take pictures and spend some holiday money in the many gift shops, coffee shops and restaurants. We are only in Stanley on the first and last nights of our two-week photo adventure to four of the outer islands, Bleaker Island, Weddell Island, Pebble Island and Saunders Island.
All the outer islands except for one or two are owned by locals who mostly farm sheep for a living. There is a settlement on each of the islands and this is where we make our homes during our three-night stay at each one. The hosts are always friendly and hospitable and more than willing to share information on their homes with our group. They are also very knowledgeable of where to go for the best wildlife photo opportunities.
Our first island is Bleaker Island. The accommodations are very clean and very comfortable. The meals are great, prepared by an accomplished chef. During our three days stay we see and photograph colonies of Melanic and Gentoo penguins as well as a colony of sea lions. The nights are quiet and peaceful, and the sun sets at about 10 in the evening. Sunrise is just after four am. So long days of photography are the norm. It is best to go out to shoot early and take a break mid afternoon as the sun is very strong until after four pm.
Our second island is Weddell Island. We are here primarily to see the Patagonian Fox. Although there are good numbers scattered around the island they are not easy to get close to unless you are lucky enough to find a den, which we do, two of them. It was fantastic to watch the adult foxes coming and going and we were even treated to some quick visits outside the den entrance by 6-week-old kits. Again, the hosts, the food and the accommodations are all excellent considering where we are.
Our third island was Pebble Island where we saw huge numbers of Rockhopper and Magellanic penguins. Our rooms were clean and comfortable, and the food was outstanding. Everyone goes out of their way to make sure we have everything we need to enjoy our time on the island.
Our fourth island was Saunders Island. In my opinion, Saunders Island is by far the best island for scenery and accessibility to two Black-browed Albatross colonies as well as Gentoo and Rockhopper penguins. The other islands are all wonderful to be sure, but Saunders is in a class of its own, especially the famous “neck” area.
Accommodations are very basic, and the food is not as good as the other islands, but we are not there for that. We are there for the endless photo opportunities that abound everywhere you look at Saunders.
All in all, another fantastic photo tour to the Falkland Islands where the wildlife seems to have no fear of humans and nature photographers are in their glory.