2nd April: Falkland Islands (Bluff Cove)

In the afternoon, we departed in a group of land rovers driven by local farmers to Bluff Cove. The route included enterprising excursions across rough and soggy tussock, definitely requiring genuine four wheel drives. On the way there and back we were treated to entertaining discourses on Falklands history and anecdotes including the all-too-recent Conflict.

Once there, we had about an hour photographing penguins in the rain, mainly gentoos and also a couple of King Penguins and their two chicks. Then there was a great surprise at the Sea Cabbage Café with a wonderful display of Falklands hospitality including a truly magnificent range of gateaux and even some accordion music.

King Penguins and chick (plus a few gentoos)

King Penguins and chick (plus a few gentoos)

Gentoo penguins in and out of step

Gentoo penguins

Gentoo penguin

Gentoo penguins

Two-banded plover

Two banded plover

Gentoo penguins and kelp

Gentoo penguins

2nd April: Falkland Islands (Stanley)

Antarctica now well behind us, today we pulled into Stanley, capital of the Falklands Islands.  Total population 2,500, not including British troops.  A small, colourful, tidy town on a steep hill.  I took a bus to the local museum and walked back, encountering a rather nice wreck on the way back.

Wreck in Stanley Harbour

It’s obviously very old, the remains of an old wooden sailing ship from the nineteenth century or earlier.  In and around the ship there are 3 gulls, one turkey buzzard and I think 13 cormorants.  (You can see more details in a much larger version by clicking on the image).

Continuing to walk along the Stanley harbour foreshore, I came across a bronze statue of an even earlier sailing ship.  It would have said what it was but I didn’t record it.  I would think it would probably be Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind.  Other possibilities might be a ship of John Davis, who visited in 1592 or Richard Hawkins who visited in 1594.  There was also an earlier visit by an unknown Spanish ship.

The French had a settlement on the island from 1764 to 1767, the British from 1765 to 1776 and the Spanish from 1767 to 1811.  There were various often precarious settlements by Argentina from 1828 to 1833 and Britain resumed settlement from 1833, also somewhat precariously at the start.  Stanley was founded and became the main settlement between 1843 and 1845.  Argentina occupied the islands for 74 days in 1982.

Stanley has a picturesque village appearance, very tidy and clean with neatly painted houses.

"Thatcher Drive"

Not too many places in the world have Margaret Thatcher as a potential folk hero.

"Design Office"

Turkey vulture

One thing that lets you know you’re not in some remote corner of England or Scotland is the turkey vultures soaring overhead.

"The Harbour View Gift Shop"

The enclosed front verandahs are partly to grow plants in the bleak climate and there were several greenhouses in the back gardens.

This is the remains of an old ship, probably of a similar vintage to the wreck we saw earlier in the harbour.  This one has been incorporated into the wharf as a cross between a shed and a dock.  As much as anything else, it probably represents the absence of trees on the Falklands.