January 2, 2016
I know. I told you I was sailing a wooden sailboat from the Falkland Islands to South Georgia. Somewhere along the way, I ended up going from my sea berth to chasing sheep.
I’m new to this sheep thing. Here are some photos. Hope this makes you appreciate that wool sweater you’re wearing!
Yes, I still plan to sail to South Georgia in early January.
Before you can shear sheep, you have to catch them. In the Falklands, it’s called “gathering”. In days past, it was done with horses and dogs. Today, it’s done with Land Rovers and motorbikes. Look at that photo. You’ll see a lot of land and very few sheep. The island we’re gathering on has 750 sheep on 3,000 acres. If you look closely at the hood of the Land Rover,you’ll see….
….caracaras. Known locally as Johnny Rooks, these birds of prey will pinch your hat as quickly as they’ll nab an injured penguin chick, a camera, clothes off the line, or, if you’re digging potatoes, spuds. Curious by nature, these two had an affinity for Land Rover windshield gaskets. It doesn’t take long to figure out why the island’s Land Rovers are missing their wiper blades.
The sheep are driven from the island paddocks down to the shearing shed. The shed sits just on the water, a few feet from this shipwreck. It is said to the second oldest shearing shed in the Falkland Islands.
The big wait: sheep are either terrified or waiting. Here, they’ve been put in pens to await their annual hair cut. The sheep in the far paddock are lighter colored because they’ve been shorn (or “shored” as some islanders say).
The sheep are moved from pen to pen via gates. Hinges don’t last long in this salty environment. Chains soon replace well intended latches.
The sheep are Pollworth crosses. I don’t know what a Pollworth is, but even with my beard starting to grow in….
….I still have a long way to go. I don’t think my wool will bring much.
Coming next, what goes on inside the shearing shed.
Posted Saturday January 2, 2016 by Bernie
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