The Falklands, made up of East and West and 776 smaller islands, have a coastline estimated at 800 miles (1,300 km). The coast varies from deeply indented sheltered harbours or low-lying gently sloping beaches to long sandy white beaches. On West Falklands dramatic cliffs rise vertically to 213m (700ft) on its west, northwest and southwest aspects. The south west has stacks and bluffs. Much of the lower lands of southern East Falklands have rocky, gently sloping beaches. There are creeks and estuaries on both East and West Falklands, and all around the Falklands there are rocky headlands with low cliffs and boulder beaches. The coasts of the Falklands are surrounded by 'kelp', marine algae ranging from offshore giant kelp Macrocystitis pyrifera and tree kelp Lessonia flavicans in deep waters up to 30m. Falklands born people are often referred to as ‘kelpers’.

Almost 200 ships are known to have came to grief in the wild seas around the Falklands coast. A visitor to the islands during the 1890's wrote: 'the coast was dotted with the ribs of lost vessels'. Early navigators knew that kelp was an unerring symbol of rocks under water. Lives have been lost because it is almost impossible to swim through a kelp bed to get to shore after a boat has overturned.

Go to Coastal Flora

Sea Mammals that might be seen from Falklands' coasts and beaches- click on an icon:

BLUE WHALE Balaenoptera musculus KILLER WHALE Orinicus orca
SEI WHALE Balaenoptera borealis Strap-toothed Whale Mesoplodon layardii
SOUTHERN MINKE WHALE Balaenoptera bonerenis LONG-FINNED PILOT WHALE Globicephala melas
FIN WHALE Balenoptera physalus SOUTHERN RIGHT WHALE DOLPHIN Lissodelphis peronii
HUMPBACK WHALE Megaptera novaeangliae COMMERSON'S DOLPHIN Cephalorhynchus commersonii
SPERM WHALE Physeter macrocephalus HOURGLASS DOLPHIN Lagenorhynchus cruciger
SOUTHERN RIGHT WHALE- Eubalaena australis PEALE'S DOLPHIN Lagenorhynchus australis

Seals that might be seen on Falklands' coasts and beaches- click on an icon:

ELEPHANT SEAL Mirounga leonina SOUTH AMERICAN FUR SEAL Arctocephalus australis
SOUTH AMERICAN SEA LION Otaria flavescens ANTARCTIC FUR SEAL Arctocephalus gazella
LEOPARD SEAL Hydrurga leptonyx    

Birds that might be seen on Falklands' coasts and beaches- click on an icon:

kelp geese Kelp Goose Chloephaga hybrida falklands flightless steamer duck logger duck Falklands Flightless Steamer Duck Tachyeres brachydactyla
grey duck patagonian crested duck Patagonian Crested Duck Lophonetta s.specularioides black oystercatcher Blackish Oystercatcher Haematopus ater
white rumped sandpiper White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis magellanic oystercatcher Magellanic Oystercatcher Haematopus leucopodus
south american tern South American TernSterna hirundinacea    
white tufted rollands grebe White-tufted Grebe Rollandia rolland snowy sheathbill Snowy Sheathbill Chionis alba
dominican gull Kelp or Dominican Gull Larus dominicanus black crowned night heron quawk Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax cyanocephalus
dolphin gulls Dolphin Gull Larus scoresbii southern house wren, cobbs wren Cobb's Wren (Southern House Wren) Troglodytes aëdon cobbi
black throated finch Black-throated Finch- Melanodera melanodera tussac bird Tussac Bird Cinclodes antarcticus antarcticus

Invertebrates that might be seen on Falklands' coasts and beaches:

Marine Invertebrates Camel Cricket Parudenus falklandicus

Falklands coasts are always surrounded by kelp

Giant and Basket Kelp Macrocystis pyrifera Sea Lettuce Ulva sp

Photographic credits: Robert Maddocks, Sam Dodd
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