After seeing quite literally tens of thousands of penguins on our trip through Antarctica and South Georgia, Bluff Cove Lagoon still had more than enough to offer.
The penguins are in a very different setting: next to a white beach on gently rolling soft ground with only the waves on the shore to disturb the peace. Gentoos abound, and there are kings mixed in too, but they all seem to be much calmer than their cousins to the south.
Dolphins paid a visit close in shore and this has to be the only place on the planet where it's possible to get a photograph of penguins in the wild with cattle munching on kelp in the background!
Just to add to the experience there are knowledgeable rangers close at hand to offer information when called on.
Refreshments at the unobtrusive Sea Cabbage Cafe are excellent with absolutely delicious home-made cakes in plentiful supply and tea, coffee and hot chocolate made to order. As if that wasn't enough, there's live music (guitar and accordion when we were there) in the cafe and the adjacent museum which also holds an interesting collection of exhibits to illustrate life on the islands and some of their history.
Unusually for some trips of this kind, there are toilets available to visitors. The gents just has to have the best view from such a facility that I have ever found anywhere: not white tiles but a white sand beach with penguins waddling across it and dolphins sailing by just a few metres off it! Amazing!
Just to make this a really comprehensive trip, the journey out and back is by mini-bus on paved roads and 4x4 across stunningly beautiful open ground between the road and the lagoon, and it isn't wasted. The driver, a 'local', with all that that brings to authenticity and the ability to answer the most tricky and detailed of questions, provides a commentary on the journey and their own experiences of life on the islands, whilst taking care to ensure that progress is as comfortable as it can be. There are warnings about the trip not being suitable for those with neck or back problems but our experience would suggest that these would have to be fairly severe for any real discomfort to be felt.
All-in-all a thoroughly recommended trip that is much, much more than 'just' penguins!
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