Over the years I’ve taken one or two (gazillion) photos. So you don’t get too bored with my words, here’s a few pretty pictures to look at!
A Few Randoms
I though it was time I added a few more photos to this page, and seeing as I’m on a bit of a blogging roll, not time better than the present!
A few years ago I had a 4 month deployment to Mount Pleasant Airfield in the Falkland Islands, and when not in work it was a photographers dream, with wildlife all over the place. These are a few of my favourite photos of the wonderful animals there – mainly pengys!!
This chap was called “Chomp” I know that as some environmentalists studying these mahoosive elephant seals had written his mane on his side in hair dye! Apparently they creep up on them whilst they sleep and quickly write it on – rather them than me! These things are enormous and can move pretty quick for a big fella. My favourite bit of this image is the little bird, looking like he’s falling over due to the power of the bellow of the elephant seal 🙂
These are quite a rare bird of prey apparently – except on the Falklands where they are like seagulls – annoying vermin!! they can hear the rustle of a packed lunch from miles away, and have no fear of humans so will quite happily try and steal your lunch – or anything else for that matter – from your hand! I was sat down filming a couple who were trying to pick particles of food out of sleeping, snoring elephant seals mouths when one decided to take a fancy to my pale pink baseball cap! He started out at my feet then aimed for my head! All you can see with the video camera is it waving around and me shouting “Arrrghgerroutofityougit!!!!”
I think this is a young elephant seal, it was part of a colony of them living on the beach that was about 200 metres from the lodge we were staying in on Sealion Island for our R & R, just over the dune from the Gentoo penguin colony!
It looks like a stunning beach in the Bahamas doesn’t it? But look closely at that small figure towards the right of the photo – yup, that’s a penguin stood there. And when I paddled in the sea, I could teal I was in the South Atlantic when my feet went numb in seconds!
All over the Falklands there are many memorials to the men who lost their lives during the 1982 conflict. the are all shiny steel crosses, and a lot of them are right at the top of a mountain or hill and take a bit of a walk to get to. Beside each of the memorials is a military issued ammunition box containing metal poilish and polishing cloths, which is kept supplied by personnel at RAF Mount Pleasant. The box is there so that when anyone takes a walk up to a memorial they can give it a quick polish, to keep it looking it’s best, in memory of the guys it commemorates. This is one of my colleagues buffing up the one at the top of Pleasant Peak, just outside of Mount Pleasant.
Grytviken is an old Norwegen whaling station, now abandoned, and only inhabited by British Antarctic survey personnel and a small museum/gift shop run for the Antarctica tourist cruise ships that dock every now and then. The whalers station part of the town is quite spooky – lots of rusting hulks lying around, bug blubber pots all over the place, and whale bones littered around.
We had a day out to a King Penguin colony at a place called Volunteer Point one day, it involved a long drive off-road in a convoy of 4 x 4’s with a local guide driving the first vehicle to make sure we didn’t end up in ditches. We still ended up in ditches, but managed to get out again – even when bogged down to the bumper! It was worht all the bogging and bumping around to get to Volunteer Point, it was stunning (the long panoramic image at the top of my blog is Volunteer Point) pure white sand, and hundreds of King Penguins. There were even some older chicks around, some of which were taking their first tentative steps towards the water.
Rockhoppers are possibly my favourite ever penguins – I once read an article about them, describing them as the bad boys of penguin-dom with their rebellious eyebrows and their red eyes looking like they’ve had one or two late nights. However I do think that underneath that bad boy exterior, they’ve got a heart of gold. Whilst on Sealion Island I went wandering and found a Rockhopper colony, whilst sat down videoing them three of them came hopping along towards me. The leader of the little procession led his mates all the way up to my feet and pecked at my boot. Obviously happy that the boot was nice and solid he proceeded to lead his men onwards, hopping on and over my foot!! I was so stunned that unfortunately I failed to get decent footage of it! Once they’d hopped on a little way a CaraCara (Big bird of prey – proper necky, not afraid of humans at all) turned up and headed towards me, looking for food to steal, and the little trio of Rockhoppers turned on the Caracara, squaking and flapping at it until it flew off. I’m convinved they were protecting me. Bless!!
I had the fantastic opportunity to travel to south Georgia in the Antarctic on the Royal Navy South Atlantic patrol ship that was based in the Falklands at the time, and whilst there we spent a few hours on one of the beaches with one of the largest King penguin colonies on it. I was so entranced by them and got to sit on the beach for a ages whilst little groups of Kings strolled past me. They were interesting to watch – a small group would waddle down the beach and then suddenly stop, and look out to sea. a few moments later a penguin or two would leap out of the sea, wander up the beach and join the group that had stopped, and then they’d all start walking again!
I was on my R & R (a few days off in the middle of the deployment) on Sealion Island, one of the smaller Falkland Islands. The first day I was there, the Gentoo penguin colony literally on the doorstep of the small guesthouse I was staying in were all sitting on their eggs, and when we got up the following morning, they’d all hatched out, so I spent an hour or two down there with my camera snapping the little hours-old chicks – so cute!!
On South Georgia, just outside the main “town” (a small dereclict, pretty much abandoned whalers community) of Grytviken is a small whalers cemetary, which is also where the explorer Ernest Shackleton is buried.
I will post some more later – enjoy 🙂