We were met at the runway on Saunders Island by Suzan Pole-Evans whose husband, David, purchased the island in 1987 with his father. Saunders Island is the site of the original British settlement of the Falklands in 1765 at a place called Port Egmont (since destroyed by the Spanish), just a short walk up the shoreline from the present settlement. It’s also the second largest out-island in the Falklands, nearly 30,000 acres (41 square miles).
We stopped at Suzan’s storeroom to buy a few supplies. As I loaded the Land Rover (the vehicle of choice in the Falklands), Suzan’s young colt, Romeo, poked his head over my shoulder and into the back of the Rover, to see what I was up to. Romeo acted more like a dog than a horse, nuzzling up against us and licking our fingers. I’ve never seen a horse with such personality.
The Pole-Evanses are mainly sheep farmers, but they also have a few cattle and, of course, they also depend on tourist revenue from people like us who come to stay at one of their two wildlife viewing camps: The Neck (where we’re staying); or, The Rookery.
The Neck is a rugged 10-mile drive from the settlement to an isthmus between two peaks of Saunders Island, Mount Harston and Mount Richards.
The drive takes about an hour in the Rover, four-wheeling around the island…
…to the Portakamp – essentially a shipping container turned into rustic accommodations – that will be our home for two nights.
The sun broke through, shortly after Suzan dropped us off.
We’ll be the only ones here; just us and about 20,000 penguins. And a few sheep that avoided the roundup. Here’s the view from the Portakamp.
It’s nice to see the sun again!