As noted in the prior post, we boarded the National Geographic Endurance in Ushuaia, Argentina, and sailed down the Beagle Channel and out into the South Atlantic. After two nights and a full day of sailing, we pulled into the port of Stanley in the Falkland Islands. In this post, I share a bit of what we found.
Stanley (also known as Port Stanley) is the capital city of the Falkland Islands. “As a British overseas territory, the Falklands have internal self-governance, but the United Kingdom takes responsibility for their defence and foreign affairs.” [Wikipedia].
The Endurance tied up at the docks for the morning, allowing us passengers an opportunity to spend some time on land – resting our “sea legs” for a few hours. (We also took on a local family of four who joined us for the trip to South Georgia and back; indeed, their two children were the only children on our expedition.) And, it gave me an opportunity for me to photograph the Endurance up close! You can see its “X-bow” and how different it looks from traditional ships.
Once on the dock, we boarded buses for a quick tour of Stanley. Our tour guide described the history and culture of this archipelago – which Argentina still claims as its territory, despite losing the brief war to the UK in 1982. On the bus tour we were able to get a sense of the town – with a population less than 2,500, it includes the government offices (and home of the governor), the only school in the Falklands (at which children board during the week and then fly home for the weekend on an air-taxi service), the only hospital, and the only retail businesses. The remaining population (about 1,000) live in scattered settlements across the many islands – traditionally, sheep farmers. Fascinating place!
We also had the opportunity for a short walk on the nature trails at Yorke Bay and Gypsy Cove. Yorke Bay was the last place in the Falklands to be clear of landmines placed by Argentina in 1982 – a task completed only a couple of years ago. Although it was windy for our visit, it was sunny and clear during our walk through the tundra-like terrain. We even spotted a colony of Gentoo penguins!
More photos in the gallery!