Sea Lion Island
Sea Lion Island is truly a natural paradise. Located in the south-east of the Falklands’ group, this beautiful island has no steep hills to climb but does have high, rocky cliffs and spectacular wildlife. On lower lying land, white sand beaches and large areas of tall, tussac grass create alternative habitats and sheltered areas.
As its name suggests, Sea Lion Island is home to magnificent sea lions. Generally seen at the foot of the cliffs or swimming offshore, these beautiful creatures can occasionally catch visitors unaware in the sheltered coves on the east of the island but pose no threat if treated with respect and care.
Sea Lion Island has the largest colony of the world’s largest pinniped, the elephant seal, with almost two thousand individuals at the height of the breeding season in October. These huge animals bask lazily on the beach, idly flipping sand, making grunting noises and occasionally opening an eye. Periodically the peace is shattered as males rear up for a fight!
This is one of the best places to look for orcas which roam offshore, hopeful for prey, throughout the summer. Their best chances for sea lion pups are from mid-November to the end of December!
Sea Lion Lodge is the only accommodation on the island and perfectly situated for wildlife observation with the elephant seals close by. Closer still are Magellanic penguins whose gentle braying sounds will lull you to sleep. Gentoos are nearby and southern giant petrels just a little further.
On the south coast is the HMS Sheffield memorial. Rockhopper penguins and imperial cormorants live side-by-side and striated caracaras enjoy the same area.
The island is no longer farmed so native vegetation predominates. Birders’ will find many species of interest including Cobb’s wren and Magellanic snipe. This is most definitely an island where nature is still in charge.
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