Monday, March 6th
Today we were in the Falklands Islands! I finished my book (Prison Diary: Argentina) yesterday and so learned the outcome and the aftermath of the Falklands War in 1982.
Our shore excursion is a trip to see the Magellanic Penguins who nest on this island. The guide told us that they have had a bad year, with few chicks born and surviving. Magellanic penguin numbers are decreasing, unlike many of the other species of penguins that also call the Falkland Islands home.
Though it is windy today (it is windy here every day), it is warm and the sun is in its full glory. It was interesting to hear that because of the land mines the Argentinians left on the beaches to prevent the British from coming ashore back during the Falklands Island War (1982), this area was off limits to humans for decades. Once the mines were cleared, the area had naturally become a nature preserve, so there was very little that needed to be done to make it accessible for humans to come and see the penguins. The landscape is relatively flat and there are no trees – just shrubs in abundance and great variety. It is very pretty!
One of the shrubs is called diddle dee. It produces red berries in the summer which are an essential part of the food chain for the birds on the Islands. The people also use it to make jam. But copious amounts of sugar are needed as the berries are quite tart!
Magellanic penguins are small, and their nests are burrows in the ground. The Gypsy Cove park where we were taken via bus to see them is located beyond the airfield, in an absolutely stunning bay. The penguins we saw were either just outside their burrows, so partly hidden in the vegetation, or faraway, down on the beaches.
As I alluded, these are not the only penguins that live in the Falklands, and other shore excursions took
passengers to see those. That alone is a great reason to come back here, and even spend a few days. (I am going to have to research how one does that, as it seems the airfield is basically for the 3,000 residents to move around the islands.)
Though the shore excursions were mostly about the penguins, there are also lots of other birds on the islands, and I did take pictures of some of them while we explored and in the town of Stanley.
Everyone (Gerry, me and many fellow passengers) really loved this place. Maybe because it is so clearly British, it made us all feel at home – everyone speaking English with a British accent, and even the look and the feel of the buildings makes it seem you actually are in England! We were able to do some souvenir shopping here – lots of penguin paraphernalia. I managed to pick up another extremely important souvenir of the Falklands – 100% organic wool! Did I mention that there are 165 sheep for every resident on the Islands?
We had exhausted our sightseeing and shopping options by 1:00 pm so returned to the ship. (We were tendered back and forth here.) Once back on the boat and fed, I spent the afternoon out on my “veranda” sitting in the warm sunshine. The boat is at anchor, so we are not creating any wind of our own, and we seem to be on the non-windy side of the boat, so it was very pleasant. First warm day in quite a while. Just a little foreshadowing of the warmer temperatures to come as we sail north.
After another day at sea, we will dock in Puerto Madryn, Argentina, and see sea lions! Stay with me!
You must be logged in to post a comment.