No pain in the Neck

We’ve been back on the Islands a few weeks now and life is beginning to return to some semblance of normality. A well-timed half term break gave us the excuse for a much-needed getaway so we searched around for a suitable location. I’ve been feeling a lot less like the value of things is all that important (a wise friend recently posted something online with the instructions to ‘collect moments, not things’ which I heartily agree with). With all that in mind, we settled on a trip to Saunders Island. This is by no means the cheap option as they make full use of their captive market to charge £70 per person to drive you the 10 miles to the beauty spot known simply as The Neck. They do this because they know it’s worth it:dsc_0196Nevertheless, the hosts are extremely nice people, the flights there are wroth the view (as you’ll see) and if you can’t spend money on unforgettable moments then what can you spend it on?

This was my first trip out to Saunders but Han was lucky enough to be making it her third. I was keen to get there not only for the wildlife but also as it hosts Port Egmont; the ruins of the first British settlement established here in 1765 and abandoned 9 years later. Walking among the ruins really gives you an idea of the tough lives that those early pioneers must have led here and this is reinforced by the graveyard that watches over the settlement from on high:

By far the biggest draw to Saunders is The Neck; home to several species of penguin (including the characterful Rockhoppers and Kings), rock shags and a breeding black-browed albatross colony. I never realised just how HUGE albatross can be and nothing reinforces it like feeling them fly above you with a gust of wind or hearing them land next to you in an uncharacteristically clumsy heap. Collect moments,not things:

The only down-side to the whole trip was the result of a miscommunication over who was packing the sun cream. This is significantly important here with the hole in the o-zone layer causing much sunburn. Sure enough, we ended up extremely rosy as predicted but even this had an up-side; the fine weather meant the flight back was sunny and calm and gave us a treat or two flying back across Falkland Sound:

Thank you Saunders Island for another unforgettable trip and here’s to many more over the coming year. For those not already aware, Han and I have decided to extend our stay here by one more year. Hopefully this goes some way to explaining why.