Monday, February 04, 2008

Stanley, Falkland Islands

Stanley, in the Falkland Islands, was the first stop on our cruise. Most people don't even know where the islands are, and I don't know how many will remember it, but Great Britain and Argentina fought a war over these islands back in the 80's. I have some personal memories of the event. I was in Trinidad at the time and had booked a cruise. However, the British government had conscripted a cruise ship from the same line to deliver troops to the Falklands war effort, resulting in my ship running a different itinerary. The first I heard of it was when the Captain made his announcement that we were sailing for....Caracas, Venezuela???? Oh, and incidently, my luggage didn't make the ship. Ah, yes, quite a memorable trip. Anyway, here is the monument commemorating the British "rescue".

The joke back then was that the islands had more sheep than people. It is still true today, with about 3.8 million sheep and 300,000 people. I don't know if they were worth fighting for, but it looks like they make nice lawn mowers.

Here's a comforting thought. Apparently there are still lots of uncleared minefields.

Jon polishes his social skills on the first penguin of the trip.

Stanley is a graveyard of ships as a result of either war, or ships that weren't quite seaworthy enough to round the Horn. This one was a casualty of bad weather as they passed the cape. It limped into Stanley, but was too badly damaged to repair. It was moored here for several years before it broke free in a storm and washed aground in the harbor.
When I saw this monument, again thanking the Brits who rescued them, I assumed it too was from the '80s. Turns out these islands have been rescued more than once. This time was in 1914, and the invaders who had to be evicted were the Germans.
Whaling is a big part of the history of the Falklands, Here is a sculpture made from whale jaw bones.

Government House. Our invitations must have got lost in the mail. The wouldn't let us in, even though I figured this just meant Argentines. We did get a good view of the gardens, though.

Finally, our first real penguins. Somehow I thought they hatched their eggs balanced on their feet. Turns out that, at least Magellanic penguins, make nests burrowed in the earth, well back from the beach.

Port Stanley, a bright, quaint, pleasant little place. At least on January 12th, 2008.

1 comment:

nemattox said...

Hey, have you ever watched 3,2,1 Penguins? (It's a cartoon done by Big Idea, the same people who make VeggieTales.) Those penguin figurines on the show came from the Falkland Islands.