Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Love Letter To A Penguin - Stanley, Falkland Islands

The ride out to the penguin rookeries was one of excitement, wonder and concern. “were we going to actually see any penguins this late in the summer?” was the question being recycled in our minds. Rumors from veteran crew members established that it was in fact too late and we would see nothing but sand and old feathers. The guide though gave a “guarantee” that we would see penguins, so for a measly $20, what did we have to lose? 

The landscape in the Falkland islands is one I’ll never forget. The sky was washed a clouded dark, eerie grey that cast only subtle shadows on the ground. Large hills and rocks as far as the eye can see and the most curious thing: not one tree can be found in it's landscape. Small bushes and tall grass is the most you will see grow on the island. Tree’s can not grow naturally here because of its harsh conditions. The lack of tree’s only add to it’s mystique.

We finally reach Gypsy Cove where we told that we were “guaranteed” to see penguins. I prepared my camera (with its new SD memory card which I had to pay 40 British Pounds to get at some small electronics shop in town because I accidentally left mine on the ship), and started on the trail towards the cove. I only had to walk about 5 minutes before I saw them.

A black huddled mass on a white sandy beach, the magellanic penguins in fact were here. A group of about 50 of them. Mostly standing, some lying in the sun and few having fun in the water. The charm of these animals is incredible. There is something about a penguin that captures the curiosity and imagination. Maybe it’s in the awkward way they waddle or maybe the fact they wear tuxedos to the beach. Either way, they are a wonder and I could myself getting lost in their interplay. 

I walked further down the trail to another section of the cove and there, along the hillside, in the grass, several more lied in the grass only about 20 feet from the trail. I was able to get in close and with my zoom lens, get even closer. The pictures I was able to get were outstanding and once again, I felt so much excitement to be able to be so close to these creatures. Something you experience once in a lifetime. 



I was in awe the entire time at the cove and savored every moment. It was until the bus had to honk its horn several times at me, I finally had to leave. These animals really are a natural wonder. I was really impressed with them and all of the Falkland Islands. Its unique landscape, flora, fauna and wildlife are something to be marveled. I hope one day to come back to the Falklands and visit my friends in white and black.         -DB