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Published: July 18th 2017
This port was the main reason my husband chose the cruise and we were both well aware that only 60% of the ships scheduled can actually tender into the port of Stanley. Luckily we could anchor out of the headlands and tendering began by about 8am. We had expected tender tickets to be unecessary for the time we left but even after 10 had to get one. The ride was about half an hour to the jetty and we had an informative chat with the immigration chap who was in the tender with us. Landing at 10.55 we were just in time to see the eclipse of the sun viewed through scudding cloud and very clear for seconds. There was a 90% coverage and it made an auspicious start to our day on the island. The weather was unusually warm and bright although it can change very suddenly it lasted for us.
First of all, as recommended in the port tour, we went into the Tourist Information Office to buy cards, stamps and souvenirs. They were not cheap but apart from the supermarket found later were less expensive than the other stores. Inevitably the supermarket had limited goods but it
was funny for me to buy water bottles in the shape of penguins for the grandchildren - funnier still was the label stating that they were made and imported from a town less than 6 miles from home. Our next stop was a coffee shop for a lunch of tasty cakes before wandering the back street of Stanley to the school and police station. Walking through the lane between them we came to the post office so wrote and posted the cards. Amazingly they arrived within 5 days - quicker than some post delivered just 50 miles away in England.
We walked the shoreline wondering about the names of places we saw made from stone on the hills opposite and learned later that 'Endeavor'and others were ships that supported the islanders after the 1982 war. There were kelp gulls and cormorants at the waters' edge and we saw a turkey vulture soar over the buildings. We did not have time to explore the museum but walked around the outside and popped into the old farrier's building to appreciate a bit of the history. My husband had a tour at 1pm and I had to wait aother 2 hours for
mine. He went off to see the sights of '74 Days to Victory' and was mesmerised by the guide who had been a farmer and told tales of his involvement in the war of 1982. Meanwhile I continued to explore and film the town with my videocam.
I spent a considerable time at the church hearing tales of life on the island as a sheep farmer from a church warder and stories of how he and his wife housed Welsh Guards shortly after the war. It is a beautiful little building inside and out with a whale jaw bone arch into the garden beside it. It was at this time I found the supermarket and discovered that because almost everything has to be shipped into the Falklands, prices are extremely high, more than double the cost of everyday commodities compared to England.
My trip to Bluff Cove, a privately owned beach, to see the penguins started at 3. We were taken by mini-bus to a meeting point where 4 x 4 vehicles collected us in groups of 4 to traverse the rough terrain down to the cove. We had about an hour to walk along the dunes overlooking
the colony of gentoos and down to the surf breaking on the beach. The dunes are near nesting sites and the birds were standing or lying in drifts in a valley, mostly moulting youngsters at the time we were there. I found the beach more interesting as birds entered or left the surf and youngest begged parents for fish. Skuas tried to snatch the food from them and were chased by feisty penguins and petrels skimmed the water further out. There was a cafe for hot drinks and cakes but I was loath to spend too long there with the birds to watch just yards away.
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