Falkland Islands Photographic Tour
Wildlife photography with tutor Craig Jones
Brize Norton • Stanley • Port Howard • Carcass Island • Pebble Island • Sea Lion Island • Darwin • Brize Norton;
There are few places to compare with the Falkland Islands when it comes to photographic opportunities. For the first time, Island Holidays has joined forces with Craig Jones Wildlife Photography with a new tour designed specially for photographers - amateur and professional. Photography's a bit like bird watching: it can be enjoyed at any level and you never stop learning.
Our 14-night holiday includes stays at Stanley, Darwin, Sea Lion Island, Carcass Island (with a day trip to West Point) and Saunders Island as well as a trip to Volunteer Point, home to the largest colony of King Penguins on the islands. We travel from the UK with the Royal Air Force out of RAF Brize Norton and, on the islands, by 8-seater Islander aircraft and LandRover. Accommodation is in comfortable hotels or lodges except on Saunders Island where it is more basic - but worth it just for the location!
All the photos shown on this page were taken during our tour in February 2013. Read Craig's blog post about the tour and see many more photos…
Your Tour Leader
Craig Jones is a professional photographer and naturalist whose love of the wild goes back to childhood. His passion for his subject is matched by his talent not only to take photographs but to work with other people to help them to develop their art and share their experience.
For more about Craig visit: www.craigjoneswildlifephotography.co.uk
Alternative Falklands Tours
Day 1: The group assembles at RAF Brize Norton in the evening for the flight over the South Atlantic Ocean via Ascension Island. The one and a half hour stop on Ascension next morning gives us a chance to stretch our legs and try to find the Myna birds that frequent the airport and to see if those dots over the ocean beyond are Frigatebirds or Boobies.
Day 2: The drive from Mount Pleasant Airport to Darwin gives us our first introduction to the rolling landscape of that part of the islands. Long-tailed Meadowlarks are often feeding beside the road and Turkey Vultures can be seen gliding low over the White Grass hills. Once settled in at the comfortable lodge overlooking the end of Choisel Sound we should have time for a walk around the shore where Upland, Ruddy-headed and Kelp Geese amongst other waterfowl are found in abundance and are very photogenic. The signs of Falklands maritime past are easy to see in the shape of the wrecks that are not far from the lodge. Mount Osborne, the highest point on the Falklands, provides a scenic backdrop for dinner in the evening sunshine.
Days 3 - 5: Leaving Darwin, we take our first Islander flight. These 8-seater planes are a real experience and a wonderful way to get an overview of the islands. Our destination is Saunders Island which will be our base for the next three nights. Saunders boasts a wonderful colony of Black-browed Albatross and you can spend hours just watching and photographing these magnificent birds. As with nearly all wildlife in the Falklands, it's possible to approach really close without causing any disturbance. We'll spend one night in the settlement and the other two at The Neck which, as well as being gloriously remote, is home to a small colony of King Penguins plus a mixed bunch of Imperial Shags and Rockhopper Penguins. In 2010 a Weddell Seal hung around on the beach for quite a while! Please note that accommodation on Saunders is in two quadruple rooms and is very basic but the setting is fantastic!
Days 6 - 8: Our next destination - again reached by Islander aircraft - is Carcass Island. The accommodation here is in en suite rooms in the main house with meals taken in the dining room that looks out through the trees to the sea. We'll have plenty of time to explore this lovely island with its Gentoo Penguin colony, its wonderful scenery and abundance of the smaller birds of the Falkland Islands such as the Falkland Pipit, the Rufous-chested Dotterel and so many more star turns. In addition, we are hoping to be able to take a boat trip to nearby West Point with its mixed Black-browed Albatross and Rockhopper Penguin colony and its delightful "English Garden" settlement where they serve superb teas! This trip is obviously weather dependent.
Days 9 - 11: Sea Lion Island, with its amazing array of spectacular wildlife, is the most southerly of the Falkland Islands. As nature is so close at hand here we will spend our time on foot exploring pools and coasts of the island. The majority of all Falklands breeding birds can be found on this island, including three different species of penguin, and it's also home to one of the rarest birds of prey in the world, the Striated Caracara. Be careful of these birds - they're liable to nick your lens cap! One of the great sights of the holiday is the Elephant Seals hauled up on the sandy beach as they moult. The lodge has views right across the island to the sea and the occasional pod of Killer Whales can be seen.
Day 12: Our final inter-island flight of the holiday takes us back to Stanley where we will be staying in the Malvina House Hotel. Depending on flights (and we never know the schedule until the night before) there will be a free afternoon for exploration or more photography.
Day 13: Today we take a LandRover excursion to Volunteer Point, home to the islands' principal King Penguin colony, a visit to which has to be one of the highlights of your Falklands holiday. The three-hour LandRover trip takes us through typical Falkland landscape and we will spend lots of time with the delightful King Penguins as well as other species. It's a long day, but a very special one.
Day 14: We have a relatively early start for our transfer from Stanley to Mount Pleasant Airport for our flight to the UK via Ascension Island.
Day 15: We arrive back at Brize Norton at 0730 hours.
Please note itineraries can be changed without notice and at the sole discretion of your tour leader.
All the photos shown on this page were taken during our tour in February 2013.