Oct 25 - Arrival in Stanley
Update 24th October
Noon Position : lat 51 41.5S, long 57 49.3 W
Distance traveled since Immingham : 7392 nautical miles
Air temperature @ noon today : 6.3 degrees C
Sea temperature @ noon today : 7.7 degrees C
Wind: Direction N, Force 4
The week in Brief
When we wrote last week we were just leaving Montevideo and heading south. In four days the weather has changed for the cold, windy weather those who live in the Falkland Islands have come to know and love. It was Thursday morning and gusting 50 knots when we came through the narrows and docked at Stanley.
Since then the crew have been working hard loading and unloading cargo in readiness for us to leave for Signy Island next week. The small select group on board has also been joined by hordes of people, or so it seems! The ship is a hive of activity and everyone is preparing for the next leg of their journey south.
History was made in the Falkland Islands on Thursday 22nd, October. The Governor was married to Helen Thomee in the Anglican church in Stanley. Previously, no governor in office has been wed on the island. The sun shone for the occasion, and the wind blew. Many hats went flying through the air during the photographic session, which was held below the famous whalebone arch. Unfortunately, we had just docked and our photographer was unable to attend the confetti throwing! When the Governor and his new wife were invited to a celebratory lunch aboard the James Clark Ross the following Sunday I was unable to photograph the celebraties themselves. However, I did manage to snap these three handsome fellows just after lunch was served!
Whilst the crew have been working hard the doctor has been up to the old tricks. As soon as we arrived I could sense the opportunity for a jolly. Two of my friends had booked a trip to Sealion Island, a small island lying off the south coast of the eastern Falkland Islands. Within a day I had hopped on a plane to join them.We spent a few days wandering through the tussock grass and over the dunes, watching Orcas and Elephant seals. This is the height of the pupping season for the Ellies and we were lucky enough to see lots of mothers and pups on the beach, as well as the big boys fighting and attempting to make friends with the local girls. One of the things that we noticed was that each Elephant Seal had a name on it's back in black hairspray. This was because there is a long term science project by an Italian team looking at behaviour of bulls and their harems. Each morning it was quite amusing to see the Italian scientists taking a register at the beach to check that everyone was present and correct. The bull seals have been weighed in at 4 tons and we were very careful to keep well out of the way. Only a precaution as they were pretty exhausted after 'flubbering' only 5 metres up the beach and had to stop to catch their breath. The colonies of Magellanic, Gentoo and Rockhopper penguins on Sealion island provide much amusement. As it is courting and nesting season there was a lot of activity in all of the colonies. At the Gentoo colony it seemed to be important that each suitor brought his new lady a perfectly beautiful rock to nest with. Needless to say the ladies rejected the majority as just not good enough and the men had to try that little bit harder.
For me, a fantastic introduction to some of the wildlife that is studied by the biologists at Bird Island. Next week we will be going to Signy and then South Georgia. These logistics trips are accompanied by a diving science cruise, but more about that next week.