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Published: February 11th 2009
The light in the Falklands is spectacular. At the same latitude south as London is north, the light is completely different from that of south-east England. I have no idea why this should be, but it is so! I awoke at about 4.45 a.m., peered out through the curtains at a stunning cerulean sky and golden hilltops around the bay; it was not a hard decision to throw on some clothes, grab the camera, and go up on deck.
The storm was completely gone although a 20-knot wind was to stay with us all day. The sea had calmed enough for the bunkering barge to come alongside some time after midnight, and re-fuelling was going on (I learned later that there were big savings to be had by filling up the tanks for the whole voyage in the Falklands rather than in Ushuaia).
It was refreshingly cold, the sun already well above the horizon in a cloudless sky, whitecaps sparkling on the dark blue surface of the sea, and the iridescent red bunkering vessel providing a vivid contrast to the blues, whites and greens of the Minerva and her surroundings.
After breakfast we made our way into Stanley
Harbour and the Captain did a fine job of parallel-parking Minerva between two ships on the floating dock. We were soon ashore where we joined about eight other passengers for a short mini-bus ride to Whalebone Cove at the start of a peninsula north-east of Stanley town. From here we walked for three hours along the coastline out to Tussac Point and around to Gypsy Cove.
While largely overcast and very windy, it was an exceptionally pleasant walk amongst typical Falklands vegetation. Along the way our guides pointed out many birds we might otherwise have missed ranging from the Upland Goose to Flightless Steamer Duck, Black-throated Finches, Falkland Thrush and the Rock Shags. Out at windswept Tussac Point we had fantastic close up views of a Red-backed Hawk alternately hovering over our heads or perching on the nearby rocks, all the while screaming loudly at us to warn us away from her nest. Beyond Tussac Point many breeding Magellenic Penguins had their burrows beneath the tussock grass, and there were more non-breeding adults and juveniles on the slopes and the white sand at Gypsy Cove. There were also two King Penguins on the beach - not normally seen on
this part of the island. Next ➤ ➤
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