Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Falklands

We couldn't quite believe our luck today, the gales that blew yesterday afternoon had gone and all was calm. The day before we had been in our cabin most of the day with the ship in very rough sea so Karen dosed up on Quells and slept most of the day. The Falklands is reached by tender (lifeboat) as the ships cannot get into the port. The last 4 ships had not been able to lower their tenders due to the swell and we were hoping beyond all hope that we would be ok to get ashore. We certainly were although our tender into the harbour (about a 20 minute journey) was choppy to say the least!

We had arranged for a guide to meet us and he was taking a few 4 x 4's over the island to Volunteer Point where we would see 3 species of penguin. Our trip was arranged through Patrick Watts at Adventure Falklands. He was so helpful and his prices were 1/3 of what the ships charged for a lot more. We were in  a convoy of 6 vehicles as this trip involved a lot of off road driving infact the driving was quite exciting ! Our driver was Derrick, the local mechanic and a lovely guy. Also driving was the bloke from the local chippy 'Mr Chips', a local councillor, Derrick's old English teacher and Derrick's sister in law who defied all odds with her off road driving skills! We visited Volunteer Point where the warden was Derrick's father-in-law !  A very close knit community that made you instantly welcome.

We had been given a packed lunch......mushy egg sandwiches and Walkers crisps, a delicious treat after all the rich cruise food.

 As we sailed in, we could still see evidence of the conflict.

A huge flock of penguins could be seen in the distance but this was nothing compared to what we would see later in the day.

The remains of a helicopter from the conflict and yes, that is snow.

The number plate that was the downfall of Top Gear !

 and 'that' woman with a memorial and a road named after her !

 Yes that's a snow storm that you can see. It's an island with many seasons in one day. It was mid summer but we experienced sun, rain, hail and we finished in a very heavy snow storm !!

Sorry this is blurred as it was taken from the window of a vehicle but it shows Nigerian contractors (in bomb suits) employed to clear the mine fields left by the Argentinians.

 The ship is now at anchor at the entrance to Port Stanley and the sea is calm.

Volunteer Point

As we sailed in we could see 1000's of penguins and knew it was going to be a good day !

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