|Pebble Island settlement|
After about an hour and a half, we landed on Pebble Island, which is named after the many semi-precious stones that could be found on the beach here. Sadly they are now only rarely to be seen as they have mostly been collected. We were met by Jackie who owns and runs the lodge with her husband Alan. They are two of the only five people who live on the island all year around, the others being the people who farm it.
Pebble is somewhat larger than Sea Lions, and we had arranged with Jackie that we would
take a full day tour of the west of the island with her the next day, so this afternoon we just took a walk nearby. We decided to make it a fairly short walk as it was incredibly windy. So we set off with our lunch and a map and made for the big ponds and the beach. This wasn’t a wildlife day really, as the only things we could expect to encounter were sheep and birds that we wouldn’t recognize, but we figured we needed to go for a walk if only to exercise off some of the huge English breakfasts we’d been eating.
|Remains of a sheep|
Having eaten our lunch sheltering amongst some huge sand dunes and tussac grass, we walked through the mostly dry bed of an overflow river from the pond to the beach. We had to make a quick dash for it across the dry sand as the wind was blowing it high into our faces. Once we hit the wet shoreline we were safe from the sandblasting, but the wind was even stronger than it had been.
|Long Beach, Pebble Island|
Of course as soon as we had clambered up the bank to the fields, we found a fence in our way, and no evidence of a gate for some distance. So we cheated and climbed over it. We were soon able to see where we had to go next and that there was a gate we could aim for, but the next problem was that between us and the gate was a stream that was about four foot wide. Definitely too far to just jump across given that there was a bank on either side.
Wandering along the edge, we reached a spot where the stream was covered in a thick surface of some kind of plant. After a bit of hesitant testing, I figured that this grassy stuff was probably just about strong enough to allow us to step across, so I gave it a go. I made it over OK, though I could feel the surface giving way beneath me and knew I was lucky to have stayed dry. Nic was slightly less lucky. He made it over, but got a wet boot on the way. Thankfully we were wearing our hiking boots and they kept his foot from getting an early bath.
|SAS memorial cairn, Pebble Island|
Back down at the lodge we were very pleased to be out of the wind and enjoying a cup of tea.