<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Pebble Island; Falklands


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Pebble Island



Pebble Island was the penultimate destination on our circumnavigation of the Falkland Islands in December 2016. On a first morning landing it did not impress! We had hiked inland to a large pond in search of waterfowl, but the pond was dry. The Falklands are experiencing a six-year drought, and all that remained was a brown expanse of cracked mud, enlivend only by a dessicated sheep's skull.

   

Pebble Island is named for some peculiarly spherical pebbles found at its western tip. I never found these, but there were some nicel coloors in tide pools at our landing beach.

 

The afternoon landing, however, was much more productive than the morning. We were dropped off by Zodiac at a different beach on the low side of the island, and hiked across to the opposite side where cliffs drop steeply to the ocean. Several colonies of rockhopper penguins are spaced over a few kilometers along the top of cliffs. I decided to stay at the first colony we found to maximize time with the penguins, whereas others in our small group continued onward. To get to their nesting site from the ocean the rockhoppers needed to first cross an extended rock tidal shelf and then find a way up the steep cliff face. I wanted to get down to the shelf, but at first look that seemed a daunting proposal as the convex slope appeared to steepen abruptly. But, after walking around to the side to get a better view I could see that the rockhoppers had created an elegant highway, switchbacking between ledges up the cliff face. This I decended carefully, with the main hindrance being the need to wait for little groups of penguins to pass by on their journeys to and from the ocean.



 

 



IanParker
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Irvine, CA 92697

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