A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD

It was just me and the wind and the birds and then there was this noise. My first thought was that someone on a 500 c.c. Motorbike with a very poor exhaust was somewhere in the neighbourhood and looking for me, probably to warn me of some danger from wildlife or perhaps that I was walking through a Petrel nesting ground.

But when I crested the sand dunes and looked down on the beach, the noise wasn’t mechanical, it was animal. It came from a small colony of Elephant seals washed up (there is no other phrase) on the beach.

These enormous creatures come in from the ocean once a year to mate. The bulls loll around amidst their harems and the females don’t look too busy either. They all have those cuddle me eyes that seals do, but the males are the length of a regular SUV and more.

This was my welcome to Sea Lion Island, one of the hundreds of outcrops that constitute the Falkland Islands. It’s a wildlife reserve and has a very comfortable Lodge on it that encourages visitors to walk all over the island to enjoy the Elephant seals, Seal Lions, Penguins and birds.

Hundreds and hundreds of Penguins waddle the islands – Kings, Gentoo and everyone’s favourite, the Rockhoppers with their Punk hairstyle. To sit amongst them is to know that there are many, many things that passeth all understanding, most things, actually.

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