Another fabulous sunny day (about 28-30 degrees?) as we disembarked via Zodiac in to Port Stanley where we met up with Sars (Sarah Clement – Debbie Summers sister) and a fifth generation Falklander. It was so lovely to see her again and to have a friendly, local face to spend the morning with. First stop Gipsy Cove where she explained there were still some land mines but the penguins are light enough to walk over them so they don’t get blown up (comforting). Beautiful beaches in Stanley– pitty the water was so cold.
Sarah then remembered she had seen a King Penguin whilst out walking her dog – what a treat that was and knowing we were the first on our ship to see a King Penguin (aka “Kevin”) on this voyage was an added bonus. He just sat, malting, bathing in the sunshine as we took images of every angle. Sarah explained that they can apply for egging licenses – the penguin season is about October/December (some time) and you can get up to 200 eggs. They are large and apparently the white stays clear when cooked and the yolk is a blood red colour. The whites make “fabulous meringues” but she opts out of this as she doesn’t like the taste – or the idea. Penguins raise one chick yet often lay two eggs so I guess it is a popular occurrence.
A ticky-tour through the town, we went to see Debbie’s house (Deb – it’s still standing!)and learnt that the majority of houses are made out of tin as it was lighter to import on the boats so more cost effective. Freaking cold in winter comes to mind. Then again, many are now double glazed, insulated and changed over heating systems so we take her word for it that the houses are warmer now.
Not a lot to do in Stanley (other than of course the great outdoors which I imagine would offer plenty – just not swimming – bbrrrr) by way of shopping. Mostly gift shops, one large department store (West Store – clothes, groceries, electrical), no pharmacy, no ATM’s, banks not open on Saturday’s – so I (Dan) jumped on her computer and shuffled some funds around finally so I can settle my bill on the boat – that could have been awkward.
Many of the guests on board the ship took up the challenge of a scavenger hunt – one of the more interesting was to find the secret gnome garden. Turns out there are two inStanley– ours was found at Kay’s B&B – easily 100+ gnomes. We met Kay who told us one had been “borrowed” by a traveller to take to the Antarctic. No gnome will be a match for our Bruce in the Antarctic.
Of further interest, was Sarah’s childhood memories, (she was 5, Debs about 9) during the 1982 Argentina/British war. Memories of hiding in hall ways with mattresses against the walls to reduce the possibility of being hit by shrapnel, of being kicked out of their home by the Argentinians and returning to find it ransacked and filthy. There were other stories that were terrifying but rather personal that I would not want to repeat and can barely think how unimaginably frightening it must have been for them as little kids. That said, seems our buddy Debs was quite the terror during these 70+ days – Debs did you really use up all the sugar rations for the community by making bad fudge that then had to be reused in people’s coffee? Surely not. Or tipping over a Land Rover? Surely not. Or taking some of the neighboring kids to a pond your Granny had forbidden you to swim in to then have the need for a rescue. Surely not.
Sarah had to work in the afternoon (she runs a PR Firm – Seal PR) in a magnificently bright red and yellow building on the port, so we trotted around the town,
visited Victory Bar (her Great, Great Uncle opened this bar – about two streets up from the jetty – and called it Victory having come back from the UK and the Victory Parade. Local fish and chips, a cooling ale then off to continue the scavenger hunt.
By this time it was easily 26 degrees outside, the merino was not “cooling” at all and we had to shed layers. A good excuse to stop at the Globe Tavern and enjoy another cold beer outside with other passengers from the Star Princess which was in port (2,500 passengers- about the population of theFalkland Islands). They had to moor considerably further out and all endured long queue’s to get on their tenders for the ship – more enjoyable for us to just jump in our wet-skins, board the zodiacs and a quick 5 minute sprint across the bay to our boat.
Thanks Sarah for a wonderful day (and the bubbles for NYE) – we hope to return again!