SOUTH AMERICAN ADVENTURE II - February/March 2017


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South America » Falkland Islands
March 19th 2017
Published: March 21st 2017
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Elaine, Paul and BobElaine, Paul and BobElaine, Paul and Bob

Heading out to explore Montevideo
ARGENTINA - Buenos Aires



Our ship, the Zaandam was a 785 foot Holland America cruise liner which we had chosen for our journey as it was not too large compared to many ocean liners and we had used HA before when we sailed from Alaska to Vancouver. In the early part of the 17th century, Henry Hudson set sail from Holland in a tiny ship called the ‘de Halve Maen’. His long voyage across the Atlantic heralded the beginnings of Dutch exploration and settlements in the New World heralding a long seafaring tradition between the Dutch and Americans. Our Captains for our journey around the Cape were Joost Endearing and Pieter Jan Van Maurik and there were 620 crew members to 1300 passengers.



Unpacked and safely on board the Zaandam we set sail leaving Buenos Aires in the early evening and cruised down the Rio de la Plate (River Plate). That evening the ship put on a performance called ‘Pampas Devils Gauchos’ and at last we got to see some brilliant Argentine Tango performed on stage as well as some Bolas and Argentinean tap dancing. It was a great show and of course all free to us on board so even though we had missed out on seeing a show in Buenos Aires (due to our hunt for a new camera lens etc) at least we had saved some money as the Tango Shows in BA were definitely a tourist trap with a price tag to match!







URUGUAY - Montevideo



It was good to be at sea and get away from 'life amongst the giant containers' although it was quite interesting watching these massive metal tanks being lifted effortlessly on to their ongoing tankers. Container ports these days are so clean and uniform compared to what they were a few years ago and so much safer. It was easy sailing down the wide River Plate and we arrived in the country of Uruguay on the opposite bank in the early morning hours. We watched from our cabin window as we picked up our pilot boat, which led us into the port of Montevideo, passing several warships and a giant cruise liner as well as a few unseaworthy boats before safely docking.



Uruguay is the smallest country in South America, slightly larger than
Graf Spee MonumentGraf Spee MonumentGraf Spee Monument

Zaandam just docked in Uruguay
England and Wales combined but with a sparse population of around three million people. It has a very long coast line and to the north are rolling hills and grasslands similar to the Argentine Pampas. Founded in 1724, Montevideo is Uruguay’s capital city and home to nearly half of the countries population.



With the usual on-board scanning of our passes we were able to walk directly off the ship onto the dock within a few minutes. A short distance away we managed to pick up free Wifi from some tour buses that were waiting to pick up passengers! Wifi on board was very intermittent and costly so we downloaded our emails quickly and free..... We were approached by a few locals wanting to take us on a tour around the city but we just picked up a map as we wanted to walk around ourselves.



In the dockyard there was a memorial to the German battleship the Graf Spee which contained one of its huge Anchors and a massive Rangefinder from WWII. Dispatched to the South Atlantic by Hitler just before the outbreak of the war, Graf Spee was successful in sinking large amounts
Amazing architecture ... Amazing architecture ... Amazing architecture ...

sadly needing a little love and care
of shipping. The British sent nine groups of ships to try to locate it - in the subsequent battle the Graf Spee was badly damaged and her Captain knew that his ship could only reach the neutral port of Montevideo safely. However because of the countries neutrality the Captain had to set sail again as he could not stay in the port. He believed that more British warships were on their way and therefore decided to have a small crew sail his ship 8 miles into the river's estuary, where he used explosives to scuttle the ship so that it would not fall into the hands of the enemy and today it still rests there on the ocean bed. The crew of the Graf Spee were later taken aboard a German freighter and transferred to Argentina. However Captain Langsdorf, probably realising how he would be treated by the Gestapo, chose to end his own life - but by his action, he saved the lives of all of his crew members. This was the first naval battle of World War II, and the only one to occur in South American waters.



A short walking distance from this notable
General ArtigasGeneral ArtigasGeneral Artigas

Father of Uruguay
memorial and we arrived in the heart of the city of Montevideo but it had the feel more of a small friendly town than a capital city. It was so easy to find your way around its grid patterned streets in the bright morning sunshine. In one park we came across a large statue surrounded by tall trees and a group of bright green parrots were busy building huge nests amongst the branches. They were making such a loud noise that you could not miss them. Probably the Monk Parakeet also known as the Quaker Parrot with a greyish breast and greenish-yellow abdomen. The park had such a relaxed comfortable atmosphere with many locals chilling on the benches watching the birds above them.



Further along we arrived at the remains of an original stone gateway (Gateway of the Citadel), which is one of the few remaining parts of a wall that once surrounded the oldest part of the city of Montevideo. Passing through the gate we arrived at a prominent square, the Plaza de la Independencia, where a large statue pays tribute to General Artigas who sits tall astride his horse overlooking the square. The General is
Local PoliceLocal PoliceLocal Police

Sue - how did your lesson go?
still revered in Uruguay as he fought with determination for a free country and is considered to be the ‘Father of Uruguay’. Below his massive statue is a mausoleum where his mortal remains still rest. All around the square there were many art deco buildings and colonial looking homes including the towering Palacio Salvo and the neoclassical performance hall Solís Theatre. Sadly however many of the buildings in the city were rapidly decaying, but you could still see many signs of their former glory but it would need a massive influx of cash to restore them all. Interspersed along the shops and narrow streets were market stalls, selling lots of antiques as well as touristy goods - it was quite moving to see ornate photograph frames with iconic pictures of people who once lived here but now were long gone and not remembered any more. We stopped for a while in a pavement cafe to cool down as the heat was quite intense and the boys enjoyed a cold beer while we chilled and sipped coffee and tea (Paul said he would not mention milk Elaine!). When the waitress brought us our bill she said that we should not tip her - this was a first for us.





As we made our way back back to our ship, cars stopped to let us cross the road and we were met with lots of friendly smiles as we walked along the streets. Locals chatted on street corners whilst children waited for their parents to finish the weekly shop and local police patrolled on Segways - a two-wheeled, self-balancing, battery-powered electric vehicle - the name derived from the word segue, meaning smooth transition ... ... ... Whilst in Lanzarote with our friends, Sue and Jim recently, Sue tried to encourage me to try out this machine - I gave it a miss but maybe I should have given it a 'whirl' ... ...



At a busy traffic light junction we came across a lady sat in her car feeding her baby whilst other drivers sat happily waiting behind her - there are not many places in this busy world where you would come across this behaviour … …. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Montevideo, all be it a bit short but it was great to stretch our legs and walk amongst the locals and enjoy some south american hospitality.





ON BOARD ZAANDAM



We made it back to our ship in time for ‘happy hour’, dinner and the evening show and were delighted to see 'yes' you guessed it some more Tango performers. I must say that the ships entertainers were extremely talented particularly the singers and dancers. The tango dancers that evening were accompanied by the haunting sound of a Bandoneon which is an essential instrument in most tango ensembles but we had never heard one played 'live' before. Basically it is a type of concertina instrument which in the past has been really popular in Argentina and Uruguay as well as the Baltic state of Lithuania which seems strange and we are not sure of the connection between these countries. The instrument is held between both hands, with pushing and pulling motions forcing air through its bellows to make the sounds. The instrument was named after a German dealer, Heinrich Band and was originally intended for religious music. It had been initially introduced to South America by German/Italian emigrants and sailors where it was a adopted for tango enthused music which were suited to its sounds. In the early 1900s bandoneons were being produced in Germany expressly for the Argentine and Uruguayan markets, however, declining popularity and the disruption of manufacturing in WWII led to the end of bandoneon mass production. Later as the bandoneon had never been produced locally in South America, despite their popularity they were difficult to locate. As a result of this void in manufacture, vintage bandoneons become rare, hard to find and really expensive to buy. The musician that was playing on board later gave a lecture on the history of the instrument and he said that after many years of searching for a good instrument he managed to find one at a reasonable price which he restored to full working order (at a price) and was now his most treasured possession. He said that as Tango was again becoming popular in South America affordable 'Argentine Made' bandoneons would soon be available on the market at half the cost of a vintage instrument.



Later that evening we set sail for our next port of call and one we were very eager to reach ... ... Since we had booked the cruise we had been really concerned that we would not get to visit the Falkland Islands but had been keeping all our fingers and toes crossed. If the weather was poor however when we arrived then there would be no chance to go ashore as there was no deep water jetty to moor the ship. Therefore we had to use the Ship's Tenders to reach the capital of Stanley and set foot on the islands. The Tenders used for these land transfers where there was no docking facility were also the ship's Emergency Lifeboats and held about 60 passengers so it could take quite a while to get ashore if all passengers wanted to do so and we assumed that most of the 1300 passengers would want to!



The ship also gave priority to those who had book shore excursions directly with them and they were allocated the first tenders which we felt was a little unfair as we had all paid the equivalent price for our voyage depending on our on board accommodation etc. As the ship's own excursions were very costly we had researched our visit to the islands beforehand and subsequently emailed a local man to undertake our visit at a much better cost. We wanted to visit the Falklands islands for many reasons but I particularly wanted to see some King Penguins and on the islands we knew there was the largest colony outside of South Georgia. To get to see them though was not easy as one had to undertake a long drive across open moorlands with no roads or tracks to reach the reserve but we also had to get to the island first!



On board we had been contacted by an American fellow passenger to say that he was also booked with the same man and so were several other passengers on our ship - in fact we were surprised to learn that there were 32 of us booked to go to see the Kings. After several emails and on board letters between us all we met up on board to see if we could ‘as a group’ get priority to get on the first tenders as our time was very short on the island and we had a long journey to undertake.



The next morning the group of us had a really early start to get first in the queue for tickets and luckily we managed to secure 32 tickets for the tender and were amongst the first passengers off the ship.





THE FALKLAND ISLANDS



The Falkland Islands are a remote South Atlantic archipelago comprising East and West Falkland and over 700 smaller islands. As a British overseas territory, the Falklands have internal self-governance and the UK takes responsibility for their defence and foreign affairs. The islands' capital is Stanley on the larger East Falkland island. Controversy exists over the Falklands' discovery and subsequent colonisation by Europeans and at various times, the islands have had French, British, Spanish, and Argentine settlements. In 1982 Argentine forces temporarily occupied the island but British administration was restored two months later at the end of the Falklands War, sadly with the loss of many innocent lives. The current population of nearly 3000 are primarily native born and the majority are of British descent with the official language being English. With a rugged mountainous terrain and cliff lined coasts, the islands and islets are home to many sheep farms and an abundant of birdlife with lots of different types of penguin. The Islands currently enjoy a healthy economy based on the sale of fishing licences, tourism and agricultural products including wool, mutton and beef.



As we neared the shore on our tender we noticed the names of many boats marked out in stone surrounded by boggy, green undergrowth along the inlet, amongst them was the Desire. The English navigator, John Davis, aboard the ‘Desire’ made the first confirmed sighting of the Islands in 1592. Today the Falkland Island Flag and the Coat-of-Arms depict this sailing ship along with the legend ‘Desire the Right’. The first landing in 1690 is attributed to the British Captain, John Strong on West Falkland. Small settlements were established at different locations around the Islands during the 18th and 19th centuries by Britain, France, Spain and the Spanish Viceroyalty of the River Plate. Early visitors were sealers, whalers and penguin hunters from all corners of the World. Many imported domestic animals and left these as a food source for future voyages and cattle in particular spread rapidly throughout the Islands - we saw more sheep than cattle on our visit. In those days most travel was on horseback and South American gauchos made their mark and many stone and turf corrals were constructed and the remains of these can be seen scattered across the Islands.



Another ship’s name carved in stone as we neared the shore was a more well known one, the Beagle. During the early 1830s ‘HMS Beagle’ visited the Islands with the naturalist, Charles Darwin on board. Darwin not only collected flora, fauna and fossils important to the conception of ‘On the Origin of Species’ but also commented on the geological features now known as ‘stone runs’ and the number of shipwrecks around the Islands. The latter are due to the proximity of Cape Horn and a combination of cruel winds and concealed underwater rocks. As trade in the Islands grew, so did the number of visiting ships and further wrecks resulted - many can still be seen around the coast of the archipelago.



As soon as we stepped ashore we could see our tour guide Patrick Watts waiting with several local men and women, each driving their own vehicle - there were 8 vehicles for our group of 32. The only way to see the King Penguin colony at Volunteer Point which was located on a privately owned nature reserve was to cross the rough terrain in these 4x4s, each one following closely in a convoy. Patrick had informed us previously that the landowner did restrict numbers to the reserve so we were lucky to be going. The cruise ship's excursion to this area was fully booked and they also had a long waiting list so we were glad that we had arranged our trip many months beforehand.



Bob, Elaine, Paul and me were allocated to Matthew a local lad born on the islands and he proved to be a great guide and companion during our visit. Bob has suffered with back pain in the past and had to be careful so we let him take the most comfortable seat in the front whilst the three of us sat in the back. Bob had enquired beforehand whether it would be OK for him to travel and had been told by Patrick that it would be. However when we saw the route we were becoming a little concerned for Bob's back. However Matthew was an excellent driver as we followed the lead vehicle going from a relative good road to a extremely slow dirt track it was like crossing the bleak North Yorkshire Moors. For a while we thought; ‘oh this is not too bad’ but then Matthew said that we would ‘now’ be going ‘off road’ we thought we had been off road for quite a while … … The route had a succession of gates where we had to stop whilst these were opened and closed and the terrain was often very boggy so the lead driver would reverse and get out to find a better route across the wet ground. Excellent driving skills and local knowledge was a priority and each vehicle had to follow the lead vehicle exactly or risk getting stuck in the mud or extremely deep peat bogs … ….





PENGUINS EVERYWHERE



Two and half hours later with a few aching bones but Bob's back still in tact we arrived at a very impressive peninsula with white sandy beaches, vivid blue seas and with the sun shining it was like being on a scenic Indian Ocean Island. The 'icing on the cake' though was that within minutes we had spotted thousands of penguins everywhere, literally stepping on each others large toes, moulting, preening,
King PenguinKing PenguinKing Penguin

It was hard to photograph their eyes
feeding their young, scratching and wandering in and out of the water - it was so worth the uncomfortable journey to get here. The noise level was amazing as they use sounds to attract mates, find their chicks, warn off predators or indeed warn off their neighbours etc etc. After a quick cup of coffee out of the back of the 4x4 we were walking amongst the penguins ourselves, what a special place this was it made us feel so very privileged to be able to experience it.





The Falklands is one of the world’s great penguin capitals and as many as a million penguins nest here every summer, representing five of the world’s seventeen species – King, Gentoo, Magellanic, Rockhopper and Macaroni.





So we had arrived at Volunteer Green where there are three types of Penguin; King, Gentoo and Magellanic. Volunteer Beach is a two mile long white sandy beach, bordered by high grassy banks and dunes, leading to rolling greens. These provide the ideal habitat for these three types of penguins and the reason they have made their homes here.



Named after the ship Volunteer which called at the Islands in 1815, Volunteer Point is part of Johnson's Harbour Farm. The Volunteer Point colony is the largest breeding group of King penguins within the Falkland Islands, where they are at the northerly limit of their range and they have bred in this place since man first visited the Falkland Islands. In 1769 Thomas Pennant brought the first specimen away from the Falklands, calling it the 'Patagonian Penguin’.



During September/October, penguins return from the ocean and start nest building on the islands. November sees hatching of the eggs, while the first chicks begin to emerge from the nest around the beginning of December. In February chicks replace the juvenile plumage, shortly followed by the adults moulting too. March and April, when winter arrives, almost all the penguins leave their colonies, scattering into the sea and migrate. The only exception to this pattern is the King penguin, which is present throughout the year in the Falkland due to its reproductive cycle of 14 months.





When King Penguins were first discovered by European explorers in the early 18th century they thought they had found the largest penguin species alive. It was only in 1844 that George Gray of the British Museum separated them from the even larger Emperor Penguin that had been seen for the first time during Captain Cook’s second voyage. The Emperor is the largest of all penguins at 42 inches high and are quite heavy at 84 pounds. They are only located in the Antarctic whilst King Penguins reside in Sub-Antartic waters.







KING PENGUINS



Falklands Conservation carry out monitoring and research of the penguins here to gain a better understanding of their habits, population and ecology. A ring of white rocks arranged around the King Penguin colony marked out the recommended distance from which one had to observe the birds so as not to cause them undue disturbance or harm and we were delighted to see that Rangers walked around ensuring that visitors kept the right distance from the birds and observed them with respect. Although it was sometimes difficult to keep a safe distance from them as they waddled right up to you … …





The King is similar looking to the Emperor but a little shorter at around 36 inches. It is also much lighter in weight at about 26 pounds compared to the Emperors' 84 pounds. They do not make a nest but maintain ‘arm’s length territory’ with much vigour as we discovered watching them for a short while within this ring of stones which actually looking like a white henge! It was really comical watching them as they noisily shooed others away from their small patch of land. The Kings chicks take more than a year to fledge so the parents cannot breed annually so therefore mostly breed biannually. The male takes the first incubation period, holding a single egg on top of its feet tucked into a brooding pouch. The female takes over for the next two weeks and then they alternate for periods of about 3 days until the egg hatches about 54 days later. By the time the chick is 6 weeks old it weighs over 15 pounds and is half the size of its parents. The juveniles are covered in a brown fluffy plumage as the months go by and do not look like their parents at all. If the parents decide to begin the cycle over again their egg will not be laid until the following January to March season and the whole process will begin again. The result of this is that in King Penguins rookeries there may be birds incubating eggs along side creches of 12 month old chicks. We were lucky an indeed saw newly born chicks peeking out from their parents legs, larger youngsters being fed whilst others were guarding their large white egg, balanced neatly between their feet.





The birds are brilliant swimmers and dive really deep feeding extensively on fish and squid. On land they are not so majestic and walk slowly and deliberately to avoid over heating but they do look very elegant as they walk right by you or stop to look at you before moving on. They are a really handsome bird and have a silver-grey back with a blackish head and with striking bright orange ear patches leading to an orange-yellow fore neck that you can see from quite a distance.



The Rangers were very informative and told us that the population of Kings here was about 1500 pairs in March 2014. Early records suggest that numbers were never very high, but by 1870 they had been almost exterminated, killed for their oil and beautiful feathers …. … By 1971 they had returned and there were about 31 pairs and these have steadily increased since then, lets hope that this will continue into the future. In May 2015 there were 746 chicks and this number varies each season from 650 - 850. They have a circumpolar distribution and also breed at South Georgia, the Crozet Islands and Kerguelen, Heard and Macquarie Islands. The world population is estimated at 1.2 million. It is thought that the Falkland King penguin population expansion may be due to overcrowding further south at South Georgia.







GENTOO PENGUINS




Very close to the ‘ring of stones’, guarding the King’s home there was a large colony of Gentoo Penguins which are the most timid of all types. They are the second largest Falkland’s penguin at around 30 inches tall and are the fastest underwater swimming bird, reaching speeds of about 22 miles per hour. Paul had seen one many years ago whilst we were snorkelling and it was like a rocket going past his mask. They breed in many location around the Falklands and currently there are about 3600 breeding pairs in this area where in 1992 there were just 750. This does however vary from season to season due to sea temperature, weather conditions and food supplies Whilst we watched them watching us, many were moulting and the ground all around them was covered in soft white down. The Gentoo is easily recognised by a wide white stripe that goes across the top of their heads from one eye to the other and the brilliant reflections in a little marshy pond with the sun shining it was a truly magical moment for all of us. They also have a bright orange/red beak and large yellow feet with the most prominent tail of all penguins. Sea lions are their main predator of adults but Skuas and other large birds of prey take eggs and youngsters as we were about to see.



Gentoo penguins are inshore foragers and generally do not venture more than 20k from the shores of the Falklands in the summer whilst raising chicks, they leave on daily trips early in the morning returning from early evening onwards and feed on lobster, krill and other crustaceans.



The islands are critical for the survival of this species as they support the largest Gentoo penguin population in the world. In 2005 numbers had been decreased dramatically by a poisonous algal bloom, but by 2007 there were good signs of a strong recovery, again let us hope that this continues and that the penguin population increase throughout the world - they are just such lovely lovely birds … … …





MAGELLANIC PENGUINS



After watching the colonies of King and Gentoo penguins we wandered down to the sea following little groups of birds making their way there too. Near the beach we spotted the third and last penguin that lives at Volunteer Point, the Magellanic. They were nesting in little burrows along the shoreline where they burrow into the soft sandy soil on slopes facing the sea. These burrows slope downwards to a nesting chamber which is slightly higher than the adjacent tunnel floor allowing rainwater to collect away from their precious eggs. Two white eggs are laid Oct/Nov and juveniles fledge in February - by late April the colonies are empty and deserted.



Magellanic Penguins were named after the explorer Ferdinand Magellan who first saw them on his voyage in 1519 and whose Strait we would sail along later on our journey. Magellanics are about 28 inches tall and are coloured black/dark grey on their back and white on their front. They have a distinctive, black, horseshoe shaped band on their front and a thick black band that runs under their chin. Their tail is short and wedge shaped and they have long, narrow wings that they use like paddles when swimming - they can reach speeds of about 15 miles per hour.



Their relatively small size means that they are preyed upon by a number of hungry marine carnivores like Leopard and Fur Seals as well as Sharks and transient Orcas. Due to the fact that they nest on quite inhospitable land though, they have no natural predator on their breeding beaches which is just as well with so many other predators hanging around.



The Falklands hold an estimated ten percent of the world population of this species, which is widely distributed around the extensive coastline of the archipelago. The Rangers told us that there are no accurate figures for the number of Magellanic at Volunteer Green but an estimate would be in the region of 2500 breeding pairs and numbers seem to be on the increase. Many youngsters survive except when there is heavy rain, with can flood the burrows. I was surprised no island wide census has been conducted but the rangers said they were difficult to count because of their burrowing tendancies - looks like an interesting job for someone!





BEAUTIFUL BUT DEADLY PENGUIN BEACH

As we wandered along the scenic beach we spotted a large bird, which we think was a Skua attacking a young penguin in the surf but it flew off and we were hoping that the little penguin had survived…… However a few minutes later we spotted several more birds diving and well enough said … …. Over forty bird species have been recorded in this area including many Hawks, Falcons, Terns, Cormorants, Oystercatchers, Kelp Gulls and Ruddy-headed Geese. The penguins also provide easy pickings for the predatory Falkland Skua, who each target a particular group of penguins for eggs or youngsters as we had just seen.



We watched several King and Gentoo
King Penguin and ChickKing Penguin and ChickKing Penguin and Chick

Please feed me ... ...
penguins making their way towards the sea. A large group suddenly stopped at the waters edge and stared out to sea, after a little while one ventured into the water, followed closely by other members of his small group and disappeared into the surf only a few minutes later to arrive back at the shoreline again. This they did several times before disappearing for good, obviously happy there were no predators around … … It was great to watch them watching each other and waiting for one of them to make a move so that the rest could follow. As well as predator birds many sea lions also patrol these coastal waters waiting for the penguins to head out to sea to feed … …



As we made our way back across the dunes there were carpets of Cushion-bog, the daisy-flowered shrub and clumps of Sea cabbage. What a scenic area this was and what a lovely home these penguins had. We spotted several Magellanics peaking out of their burrows looking out to sea waiting for their mate to come home.





BACK ACROSS THE MOORS



Sadly our time visiting these beautiful penguins at Volunteer Point came to an early end and all to soon we had to climb back into our 4x4 to make the long journey back to Stanley to catch our cruise ship. Even though just as bumpy and having to avoid many obstacles on our way back the journey was made super quick for Paul and Bob though as Matthew was avidly listening to a live football and rugby matches on the radio. I was hoping he would leave the local radio channel on as it was great to listen to BFBS (British Forces Broadcasting Service) again - we had enjoyed listening to this when we lived in Berlin and had not heard it since we left the city back in 1985.



Chatting to Matthew on the way back he filled us in on some useful information on the islands and the islanders themselves. He told us so much about growing up here, which he clearly loved and would never want to move away from. He had several jobs and as well as delivering local supplies and guiding tourist around he also ran a farm with 1000 sheep. Once safely back on tarmac
Me, Matthew, Elaine and BobMe, Matthew, Elaine and BobMe, Matthew, Elaine and Bob

Safely back in Stanley
again we passed many signs to places that we had heard off including Goose Green. He told us about his school life on the island and informed us that many 6th form students attended Peter Symonds College in the UK. This very college is located in our home town of Winchester and many students from the island lodge in a building there called ‘Falklands House’ - such a small world.





THE CAPITAL OF STANLEY



Back in Stanley we said goodbye to Matthew and only had a short time before the last Tender returned to our ship - if we missed this they would not have waited for us and even though we would have loved to have stayed longer probably not until the next cruise boat came in! We grabbed a coffee from a mobile van, the chap was originally from Yorkshire and made excellent coffee and we had a long interesting conversation with him.



We crammed in the rest of our short time as well as we could, stopping at the Visitor Centre to buy postcards to send home and a few souvenirs before strolling along the shoreline to view Christ Church Cathedral. The southernmost Anglican cathedral in the world, consecrated in 1892. It is the parish church of the Falkland Islands as well as South Georgia and the British Antarctic Territories and built on the site of the Holy Trinity Church, which was destroyed by a peat landslip that also destroyed part of Stanley in 1886. It is in possession of the Garter banner of Edward Shackleton which hung in St George’s Chapel in Windsor during his lifetime. In the front of the church there was a large Whalebone Arch made from the jaws of two Blue Whales. An image of the church is featured on the reverse side of all Falkland Island pound banknotes.



We walked along Victory Green which straddles the waters edge, we had been so lucky and the weather was kind to us - just a perfect day. I watched a couple of Imperial Cormorants who were spreading their wings in the warm sunshine, nearby we spotted a Southern Giant Petrels which are known locally as the 'Stinker' - they are massive with huge wing spans.



Our overall experience of the Falkland Islands, well we would have loved to have stayed longer, it was awesome to see so many different species of penguins all in one place - pure magic, the island's people were caring and down to earth, hardworking folk and ever so friendly and there was so much to see and do - maybe another visit to these idyllic islands should be on our cards, but for now we head further South to much colder weather and the magnificent Cape Horn - see you there.


Additional photos below
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Just chilling


22nd March 2017
Us amongst Kings

The kingdom
Amazing
22nd March 2017
Us amongst Kings

Thank You
It truly was a magical time for us ...
29th March 2017
Family gatherings

Wow
Absolutely amazing. I wish I get to see something like that one day. /Ake
2nd April 2017
Family gatherings

Thanks for your comment
Hopefully you will get to see some delightful Penguins soon as well ......

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