Wim’s News from the Tusk Falkland Photo Tour:
Yesterday afternoon we piled into a LandRover and drove to a cliff from where we could watch Sea Lions down below.
They had a number of small pups that were frolicking in the shallow waters that lap the island. We walked through thickets of Tusset Grass that is really difficult to get through so that we could approach the beach and the Sea Lions. We arrived at a lovely sheltered area named Paradise Cove, where a single Sea Lion was surrounded by numerous Elephant Seals. We were able to approach them and spend quality time with them, photographing them all from very close.
We returned to the LandRover to visit the beach where the Gentoo Penguins return each afternoon after a day’s fishing in the ocean. We spent a fascinating and almost surreal afternoon watching the Penguins arrive. They ride the waves as they approach the shore, surfing or porpoising until the sea spits them gently onto the beach, from where they stroll up to the sandy beach.
It was thrilling and heart-stirring to watch and we sat quietly with our clicking cameras as more and more Penguins arrived and within moments surrounded us. That was such an amazingly special time … it is difficult to describe one’s feelings as you sit there on this beautiful, pristine beach, in the most glorious afternoon golden light watching the Gentoo Penguins porpoising and leaping through the waves right in front of you. It actually feels as though no man has trod this area before. This categorically is a nature-lovers dream! It is certainly a highlight of my life.
We enjoyed a fabulous sunset, with glorious, iridescent colours lighting the crystal clear sky and reflecting in the water.
This morning there was no wind at all so we visited a shallow pond where penguins sit and enjoy the sunrise each morning. The colours of the sunrise reflected in the pond around the penguins, creating yet another magical moment that touched one’s soul and provided fantastic photographic opportunities.
From there we went to the Elephant Seal beach and found a lone Sea Lion there as well. We managed to grab a few quick photos of him before he dashed off into the surf, all grumpy and noisily voicing his displeasure at our arrival.
A couple of young Elephant Seals were more welcoming and put on quite a show for us as they indulged in some boisterous play-fighting. They stood on their tails and tried to look as tall as possible while thrashing their heads and necks against each other. It looks really fearsome, but there is no damage and these youngsters actually seemed to look to us for approval from time to time.
Conditions here are really outstanding and we are enjoying lunch while we continue to marvel at the incredible experiences we have enjoyed thus far – while looking forward to another afternoon in this heavenly, unspoiled place …