Sea Lion Island
Why a Wonder: Sea Lion Island is home to a massive breeding site for southern elephant seals. You'll also find several species of penguins as well as other birds, offshore killer whales, and sea lions. The scenery is stunning as well.
Where: Sea Lion Island is one of the most southerly islands in the Falkland Islands, and can be reached directly from Stanley (the capital of the Falklands) within 40 minutes via the Falkland Islands Government Air Service. Visitors to the island can stay at the comfortable Sea Lion Lodge, which is located near the eastern tip of the island. There is no camping or other accommodations on the island. For more general information on reaching Sea Lion Island and the Falkland Islands visit the Falkland Islands Tourist Board website at www.falklandislands.com.
When: The visiting season currently runs from October 1 to March 31, which is summer for the Falklands. Expect long days, short nights, and not a lot of sleep!
Photography: There's no shortage of photo opportunities on Sea Lion Island. Several gentoo penguin colonies are just a short distance from the lodge, and it is easy walking to the sandy beaches where you can find southern elephant seals. You'll also likely encounter Magellanic penguins, striated caracaras, and upland geese. The island is five miles long, so if you want to easily explore more, you can arrange a 4x4 tour with the lodge (or walk if you prefer). A trip to the west end allows you to visit colonies of southern rockhopper penguins and imperial cormorants.
The scenery on the island is stunning as well, with dramatic cliffs, sandy beaches, and turbulent seas. You can try some landscape photography to capture these features, or use them as backdrops for your wildlife photos.
You'll be able to use a variety of lenses on Sea Lion Island, ranging from long telephoto to wide-angle. Although you should avoid getting too close to the wildlife, often the wildlife gets close to you, especially curious penguins which are perfectly at ease with people. The wildlife is incredibly abundant, and you'll find interesting species pretty much everywhere you go; be careful where you step, as you will sometimes find it underfoot!
One of the highlights of visiting Sea Lion Island is watching male elephant seals battle for dominance. These massive animals rear up taller than a person before crashing into each other with brutal force. Be careful to keep your distance, as an angry elephant seal can easily squash a photographer that gets too close; males can be over 20 feet long and weigh up to 8,800 pounds!
Learn More: To learn more about visiting Sea Lion Island and booking a stay at the Lodge, visit https://www.sealionisland.com.
© Ian Plant
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This post sponsored by Tamron.