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Oct 19 - Arrival in Stanley

Date: Sunday 19th October 2003

Position noon: Stanley, Falkland Islands
Distance travelled since Immingham: 8280 NM
Air temperature: 6.7°C
Sea temperature: 7.2°C

The Week In Brief

We arrived into Stanley on Monday afternoon, a day early, and in glorious sunshine. Stanley, the most southerly city in the world, is home for the JCR and several of her crew. The town is home to 2000 people, but can support many more with an infrastructure many larger towns in the UK would be proud of.

The week in Stanley was time for a change-over. The AMT scientists left us, until the northbound cruise next year. Their hard work and good company will be missed. The ship was briefly our own again, until we were joined by a 35-strong construction team headed for King Edward Point. Their remit is to clean up the old whaling stations with particular regard to removing any remaining asbestos. Half of the team are Chilean, bringing a very international flavour to the ship and testing the crew's knowledge of Spanish. We are also taking in the relief team for Bird Island, to replenish their stores, deliver the mail and prepare for another year of science.

Stanley from the harbour. Click to enlarge.Stanley from the harbour. Click to enlarge.

Testing the boats

One thing that a few days in port allowed used to do was to brush up on our boating operations, it's been a little while since we last worked with them...for various reasons. It also meant that the boats got fully checked over before we start resupply operations down where it is just a little cooler. The pictures below show the tender practising a beach landing in the harbour (R) and sailing in front of Stanley (L).

The cargo tender practicing beach landings. Click to enlarge The cargo tender in front of Stanley Houses. Click to enlarge

The cargo tender practicing beach landings. Click to enlarge

The cargo tender in front of Stanley houses. Click to enlarge

Whilst this was going on the launch was going through its paces practising man overboard drill (below left) where we see Michael Golding 3/O recovering the test float. Testing the new echo sounder had the added benefit of allowing us a close look at the Lady Elizabeth, which is a wreck that rests at the end of the harbour.

Michael (3/O) retriving the float. Click to enlarge The Lady Elizabeth close-up. Click to enlarge

Michael (3/O) retrieving the float. Click to enlarge

The Lady Elizabeth close-up. Click to enlarge

Falklands wildlife

Whilst in Stanley, there was even time, in between all the work, for a little rest and recuperation. Approximately three miles walk away from FIPASS, where the ship is berthed, is Gypsy Cove. This is a magical place to escape to, and is home to a colony of Magellanic penguins. These small penguins nest in burrows in the peat in pairs. They return year after year to the same burrow, where they lay their eggs. One of the pair is always in the burrow, guarding the egg whilst the other ventures out to fish.

Gypsy Cove. Click to enlarge.The beautiful beach at Gypsy Cove. Click to enlarge.

Penguins on their way to fish. Click to enlarge.  
Penguins at home. Click to enlarge.

Penguins on their way out to fish.
Click to enlarge


Life in a burrow. Magellanic penguins at home.
Click to enlarge

Gypsy Cove is also an ideal nesting site for many other species of seabird. There are steamer ducks, majestic night herons, geese, rock shags, cormorants and caracaras.

Female Kelp Goose. Click to enlarge.  
Night herons. Click to enlarge.

Female kelp goose.
Click to enlarge


Black-crowned night herons nesting precariously on the rocks.
Click to enlarge

Camp is the name given to the rural areas of the Falklands. Here the scenery is breathtaking. The strong winds and harsh conditions mean that trees are scarce and the few plant species which do survive are hardy and strong. The hills are gentle and flat-topped, the highest being only 2400 feet above sea level. The landscape is punctuated by peat bogs and extraordinary rivers of stone which appear to flow down from the hills.

The main industry is sheep farming and the Falklands is home to literally millions of sheep. Outside of Stanley there is little traffic and horses and cattle also roam freely.

Visitors to camp are regularly treated to sights such as upland geese and their goslings, the huge and powerful turkey vultures, and the beautiful long-tailed meadow larks. These small birds have remarkable red breasts which are almost too bright to be natural. This splash of colour is so vivid that they can be seen from a distance against the very green background of the camp.

Camp. Click to enlarge. Camp. Click to enlarge.

Upland geese. Click to enlarge.Male and female upland geese. Click to enlarge.

A final thought until next week...

We were very lucky with the weather in Stanley and had some beautiful days and spectacular sunsets. This photograph was taken from the end of the harbour, looking past the wreck of the Lady Elizabeth towards the mountains made famous in the 1982 conflict: Mt. Kent, Two Sisters, Tumbledown and Sapper Hill. Behind the ship the lights of Stanley can be seen.

Sunset over Stanley. Click to enlarge. Sunset over Stanley. Click to enlarge.

We are now heading east, towards South Georgia and the Antarctic convergence. Time to get the woolly hats on!