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Nov 17 - Falkland Islands

Monday 17th November

Position report at 15:00 GMT:
Latitude: 60 42.0 S
Longitude: 045 34.7 W
Bearing: 147 °T, 674 Nm from Cape Pembroke, Falklands
Cruise Number: JR 187
Distance Travelled: 216
Total Distance Travelled: 726
Steam Time: 23.2
Total Steam Time: 68.6
Average Speed: 9.3
Total Average Speed: 10.6
Wind: Direction SW, Force 3
Sea State: Slight
Air Temp: 0.2 °C Sea Temp: -0.2°C
Pressure: 993.2 Tendency: Rising

Distance from Burry Port: 7,027 miles

Apologies for the absent diary entry last week - it's been far too busy! The Atlantic science cruise has come to an end now that we have reached our first port of call Stanley, in the Falkland Islands. Sadly this means that we have had to say goodbye to many of the scientists who have by now become part of the furniture. After the farewell dinner and dancing, we said our goodbyes from the deck, as the Falkland Islands came into view:

AMT18 scientists
AMT18 scientists

For the ship's crew, being in port is a very busy time; after berthing, cargo needs to be off-loaded and new supplies brought on-board, the catering department work furiously to clean and prepare the cabins and cater for new people joining the ship in the Falklands, and the engineers and deck officers seem never to stop, thereby ensuring the smooth-running of the vessel.

Stepping on land for the first time in 6 weeks was very exciting, and those who know me will not be surprised to learn that I was first off the ship (along with Ben - also not required much for work on board in port) and we ran about like madmen for about an hour enlivened by the novelty of being on land- until we found our first cafe. I was particularly impressed that the locals had gone to such an effort to welcome me:

A Welsh flag at the first house I saw
A Welsh flag at the first house I saw

Stanley is a delightful town, inhabited by delightful people. After just a few days we felt as if we knew everyone and had become part of the community. I must explain however that part of the reason why everyone knew us was because Ben had caused a stir in town and turned many heads, riding around on his "Bush Pig" - to all intents and purposes, a motorized skate-board which is very noisy and (in my view) dangerous. Ben's riding of this futuristic-looking machine brought people out of their houses and, I'm afraid, even attracted the attention of the Falkland Islands police.... I am happy to report however that Ben now owns the only taxed, insured and legally road-worthy Bush Pig in the world (we think)!

Ben on the Bush Pig
Ben on the Bush Pig

Although Stanley is not a large town, nonetheless there is plenty to do:

Stanley
Stanley

Having visited the museum, cathedral, shops, waterfront, lovely restaurants, bars and leisure centre, there was little time left for travelling further afield. We did however cycle/bushpig to Surf Bay and walk around the coast to Gypsy Cove in hope of seeing some penguins. Though we were unlucky with the Penguins, we saw a variety of other birds, some terrific shipwrecks and stunning beaches on our walk:

Alex and me on a determined march to find the penguins
Alex and me on a determined march to find the penguins


Night Heron
Night Heron


Shipwreck
Shipwreck


Gypsy Cove
Gypsy Cove

We did find some very friendly penguins the following day (Kings, a Rockhopper and a Gentoo), but they were in a pen having been rescued (and unfortunately there was no camera to hand). I look forward to meeting more of these little fellows as we head south. The wildlife from the ship has been noteworthy however, with whales, flying fish, petrels and Albatrosses visiting us periodically on our journey into the Falklands:

Hump-back Whales
Hump-back Whales


Wandering Albatross
Wandering Albatross

This week we will be heading south to the British Antarctic Survey station on Signy Island in the South Orkneys. I'll keep my camera poised ready to snap any wildlife for the web diary.