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Vacation Day 14
Thursday , February 5th
Stanley, Falkland Islands

This morning, at about 6:00 AM we anchored of Stanley, the major town of the Falkland Islands. Here is the map:

HA Map

There is some confusion as to the name of Stanley. Some people call it Port Stanley, which may be the section of the port where the ship was anchored. It appears the the proper name of the town is Stanley. This is how the Falkland Island visitors guide refers to it, so I will call it Stanley.

First I will start with some facts and figures about this lesser known place.

The population of the Falkland Islands is 2,478 according to the 2006 census. This does not include the people associated with the British military garrison located here. Of the 2,478, 2,115 of them live in Stanley. This means that about 85% of the total population of the islands lives in the town. Some additional information about the people that live here: 54% were born here, 25% are of British decent, 14% are of St Helenian descent and 5% are Chilean. From those last figures, the first question you are likely to ask is "St Helenian descent"? Sorry, I do not know where this is either.

The land area is 12,173 square kilometres which the tourist guide states is "approximately the size of Connecticut or half the size of Wales". This land area is "made up of two large islands and over 740 smaller ones". The two large ones are called West Falkland and East Falkland. Stanley is located on the east side of East Falkland Island.

The main items that drive their economy are fishing and tourism in this order. Apparently they had over 62,000 tourists visit them by cruise ship last year which is by far the most popular way to get there. More and more people are coming by air but the process of getting here by air is fairly complicated.

The Falkland Islands is an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom. They are independent in every way except for defence and foreign affairs which remain the responsibility of the British Government. The local government is via a Governor who represents the Queen with the assistance of a Legislative and Executive Council. As you can imagine it is somewhat more complicated than this but this is all that is important here.

As I mentioned earlier the ship anchored in the outer harbour here which means this is the second of the two tender ports on this cruise. It was a fair ways out and took a while to get to the town (as you will see in some of the later pictures). Todays shore excursion was to go to the Bluff Cove Lagoon where there is a small (by the standards of what we have seen so far) penguin rookery. These are a different type of penguin than the majority of what was seen in the antarctic so the smell and ground colour were quite different. More about this once I get there. Getting there, after the tender ride from the ship, required a mini bus, and a four wheel drive vehicle ride over some rather rough terrain. The first group of pictures below will get us to the penguins.

Stanley 1
To Bluff Cove 3
This is how you are greeted on your arrival in Stanley. On the way in the tender I was on was escorted by dolphins on either side to the jetty. They were too close and the tenders windows were too dirty to get a picture. The shore staff rushed us onto the mini busses so you do not see much of Stanley here but you will see more upon my return in about three hours. Once one leaves the town this is the type of scenery you see. There are many ranches (Bluff Cove is one of them) in this area. There are things that you need to be careful about as you will see in the next few pictures.
To Bluff Cove 1
To Bluff Cove 4
Yes, that sign says "Danger Explosives". According the the visitors guide there are 117 minefields scattered across the islands left over from the 1982 Falklands Conflict. Each of these are fully mapped, fenced and monitored. Most of these mine fields look like this. As you can see the area is fenced with fairly obvious signs indicating what they are. Apparently no civilian casualty has ever been recorded from these.
To Bluff Cove 2
To Bluff Cove 5
Here is another one along the side of the road. We were told that there is a plan in the works to go through all of these and remove the mines. I would guess that as tourism increases these may become more of a problem. We changed from a minibus to a 4 wheel drive vehicle to make the off road trip to the cove. This took almost an hour and it was exciting to say the least. You can probably tell that from the picture. I have some video of the trip out, which I cannot use here, but shows just how exciting it was.
To Bluff Cove 6
To Bluff Cove 7
One of the lessor exciting parts as we went in.
Just about there!!!

Those of you that have been following this trip will probably be happy to know that these are the last pictures of penguins you will see on this trip. As I noted above, these are two different species of penguins than the majority that were seen in Antarctica. The majority, by far as you will see, of the ones here (about 1000 breeding pairs) are Gentoo Penguins. Here are a couple of interesting facts about this species. The adults are about 30 inches tall. They weigh about 12 pounds. Their life expectancy is about 8 years. They eat small fish, squid and crustaceans. It take about 100 days from the egg being laid before the chick can go to sea.
The other type that you will see here (all 4 of them) are King Penguins. These ones are about 3 feet tall and weight about 30 pounds. Their life expectancy is about 30 years. They eat the same things as the Gentoos. It takes a year for these chicks to be raised by the parent. This means that they only raise chicks every other year.
The main difference between these penguins and the majority of the ones that were seen in Antarctica is what they eat. As noted above these ones eat small fish, squid and crustaceans. The ones in Antarctica eat krill which is the reason for the red colour there. These ones do not smell anywhere near as bad as those Antarctic penguins.

Here are some pictures.

Gentoo penguins with the 4, count them 4, King penguins in the middle. The slightly grey Gentoo penguins are the younger ones. A closer picture of the King penguins. The one on the far right (facing this way) had a chick between its feet we were told, but we never saw it.
Same 4 King penguins. You can see an egg between the feet of the second one from the left. They keep the egg (and the chick after it hatches) on their feet to keep it warm. Here you can see an egg under the one second from the right. Apparently they have developed some very complicated process for transferring the egg and later the chick without it touching the ground when the other adult comes back from feeding and this one goes to feed.
A Gentoo penguin having a rest.
More Gentoos on top the bluff where we are and down in the lagoon.
These guys were checking us out.
They would not go where I wanted them to for a good picture, so I just had to do the best I could.
Just to give you an idea of how close we were to them.
Here is a lone Gentoo penguin along with some of the other inhabitants of this area. They are Upland Geese. They made sure to tell us that the male is the white one and the female is the brown one.
A bit of a rough area between the beach and where most of the nests were. It is hard to tell some of the penguins from some of the rocks here.
The beach where they went out to feed.
A closer view of the beach area. The ones that are laying down are just resting. If they sleep, I guess this is how they do it.
Some perspective of where we were to were they were.
This guy seem to be just a bit lost. He (or she, it is not easy to tell) eventually found its way to the rest of them.
The beach area showing our group checking everything out.

As you can see the weather was not too bad here. It was partly cloudy with temperatures in the mid 50's F (about 10C). We had an hour here and then the bumpy trip back the way we came. Here are a few more non-penguin pictures taken around this area before we started back.

They had a little cafe called the Sea Cabbage Cafe with washrooms here. There were home made bake goods. Their orange cake and lemon cake are really good. So is their hot chocolate. For many years Falkland Islanders used peat from the many bogs around this area to heat their homes. Apparently they do not so much now. The cafe here still uses it. It was not made clear what they use now but it may be electric or shipped in gas.
From the hill above the cafe looking back towards the penguins beach.
From the same spot looking to the left.

Cows !

Yes they have cattle here too. These are called Belted Galloway.

From here we took the 4 wheel drive vehicles back out to the main road. I took some video on the trip back out but no still pictures. Once we got back to the mini-bus pickup point I took these pictures of the vehicles we had been travelling in.

4 WD-1
4 WD-2
The one I was in.
The one I was in and some others. I think there were 6 of them all together.

From here the group of us headed back into town. Here are some pictures taken on the way back.

Mines 2
Windmills 1
I think this is the same mine field that we saw on the way out.
Part of Stanley's power is generated from these 3 wind turbines. Apparently they have wind here almost all the time. They were telling us that if they can get 4 more they will have enough power for the entire town. Right now their main source of power is a diesel power plant. If what they hope happens, comes to pass, the diesel plant will become the backup to these.
Ships 1 This view gives you a rough idea of where the ship is. The second ship came in just as I was coming ashore in the tender earlier today. That ship is the Holland America Line ship Prinsendam which was on a cruise going the other way from ours. This is the ship that was making the Antarctica voyage I mentioned on yesterday's page. It is considered the flag ship if Holland America's fleet. It is also the smallest with only 792 passengers. There will be a couple of pictures of it later. As you can likely tell this picture was taken through the windshield of the mini-bus bringing us back to town. The town is just below the road and slightly to the right. The area of water where the ships are anchored is called Port William and the water closer to town called Stanley Harbour (surprise, surprise).

Shortly after these pictures were taken we arrived back at the jetty where we landed earlier. Here are some pictures of what you might call the downtown of Stanley. The street in the pictures is called Ross Road.

Stanley 2
Stanley 3
The harbour front in Stanley
If I remember correctly this is either the only or one of the only brick buildings (perhaps houses) in Stanley.
Stanley 4
Stanley 5
This is Christ Church Cathedral. It is the Church of England or as we more commonly know it, Anglican.
The Public Jetty where the tenders from the ship dropped us off.
Stanley 6
Stanley 7
At this corner Ross Road turns into Philomel Street. The yellow building is a gift shop. Similar picture to the first one on the page. Taken from the end of the public jetty.

After a brief look around the town, I headed back to the ship. The pictures that follow were mostly taken through the tender window which was quite dirty. The first one obviously was not. These show what it looked like as the tender headed back to the ship from Stanley.

The tender (or life boat) that I will take back to the ship.
This is one of the Prinsendam's tenders waiting to take some of their passengers back to their ship.
Stanley as the tender sailed away across Stanley Harbour.
Similar picture as the previous one, just a bit further out.
The MS Amsterdam as we approached it.
Here is a "bow on" shot from the tender.

Most of Holland America's ships have this fancy gangway built into the side of the ship for use with the tenders. As you can see it folds into the side of the ship when not in use.

This picture also gives you a pretty good idea of the size of the ship. The ship is 780 feet long, 106 feet wide and contrary to what I have said previously carries 1,293 passengers and a crew of 580. Gross Tonnage is 61,000 tons. All of these dimensions are fairly small by today's standards. For the record there are 5 diesel generators that consume 32,000 gallons of fuel a day. Primary propulsion is by two 17.5 MegaWatt or 46,000 horse power Azipods made by ABB. It was launched in the year 2000.

Once back on the ship a few more pictures were taken to show the area around the ship. Here are a few of those.

Stanley from ship 1
Stanley from ship 2
The opening from Port William into Stanley Harbour is on the left with one of the tenders having just passed through it. Engineer Point is on the left and Navy Point is on the right. Here is about as much as can be seen of Stanley over Cortley Hill which divides Port William from Stanley Harbour.
Stanley from ship 3
Stanley from ship 4
I walked further down the ship and got a slightly different view. Navy Point in the foreground and the east end of Stanley in the background.
A closer view of east Stanley, over Navy Point.
Prisendam 1
Prisendam 2
The MS Prinsendam anchored beside us in Port William.
A little wider view to show the relationship between the two ships better. This picture is looking east out into the South Atlantic Ocean.
A view looking west from the Amsterdam.
A view looking Northeast with Engineer Point in the centre and the opening into the harbour to the right.

The Amsterdam sailed out of Port William just after 4:00 PM local time heading for Buenos Aires, Argentina, two days and 1155 Nautical miles away to the north and slightly west.

For the record, the Prinsendam was scheduled to sail at 5:00 PM I think it was and was heading for South Georgia Island, where there is much wildlife and thousands and thousands of penguins, and then Antarctica several days later.

Interestingly, this was the only stop on this trip where the native language is English and not Spanish or Portuguese.

I liked the Falklands. It has a quaint and very friendly feeling to it.

On to Buenos Aires, two days from now.

Created: February 25, 2009 at home.
Last updated: February 26, 2009 10:23 AM